Irish Life & Permanent report strong growth

Irish Life & Permanent plc has today reported a rise of 33% in operating profit for the first six months of the year.

Irish Life & Permanent plc has today reported a rise of 33% in operating profit for the first six months of the year.

Operating Profit for the period was €321m – up from €242m for the same period in 2006.

This rise was secured on the back of strong performances in both the life & pensions business and in the banking business of permanent tsb bank.

Life & Investment sales rose by 66% to €594m, including sales in retail, corporate business and Irish Life Investment Managers. Operating Profit in the life & pensions business rose by 45% (€194m).

Within the bank, the value of the permanent tsb loan book rose by 23% during the period with a strong performance by the bank in terms of “retention” of existing mortgages and very strong growth in new mortgage lending in the UK.

In Ireland, the value of the loan book rose 21% in value despite a reduction in new mortgage lending of some 19% compared to the same period last year. Operating profit in the bank was up 23% to €111m.

Speaking today, Group Chief Executive, Denis Casey, said the fundamentals of the Irish economy are “very strong”. Casey said that the attention focussed on the housing market during the past six months “had led commentators and analysts to underestimate the strength and resilience of the rest of the economy”.

From the Group’s perspective, Casey said that the key developments during the period were the “extraordinary blossoming of the long term savings market which is a key driver for the life and pensions business and permanent tsb’s continued success in the current account banking revolution, winning another 35,000 new customers in the 6 months alone and heading for close to half a million current account customers by the year end”.

Casey said he was very confident on the outlook for the remainder of the year.

Growth in life sales in excess of 30% and mid to high teens growth in the bank’s lending book, together with stable margins, should see growth in operating profit from the group’s core life and banking operations exceed 20% for the year.

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