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Milano, 6th August 2004

The Board of Directors of Banca Popolare FriulAdria approved the results for the first half of 2004.

All the main indicators of the Bank with Registered office in Pordenone are positive and confirm its vocation of bank for the territory, particularly attentive to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Friuli Venezia Giulia and Western Veneto regions, which are currently engaged in a crucial phase for their competitive reorganisation and relaunch in the Italian and foreign markets.

FriulAdria closed the first half of 2004 with a net income exceeding 26 million euro, corresponding to a 35.7% growth rate with respect to the same period of the previous year.

Net interest and other banking income (112.5 million euro) registered an almost 8 million euro increase (+7.5%). The considerable expansion in intermediated volumes (+7.7%) partly offset the effect of the generalised decrease in interest rates and the consequent slight reduction in interest margin.

A sign of great dynamism is the substantial rise (from 45.2 to 53.8 million euro) of non-interest income (+19%) achieved also as a result of the well-established distribution of “new generation” products and services such as interest rate and commodity derivatives to cover market fluctuations, in addition to structured bonds and index linked insurance policies.

Income from operating activities exceeded 39 million euro (+4.5%). Net extraordinary income totalled 2 million euro and was mostly ascribable to the “elimination of the tax effects on the financial statements” set forth by the Company Law Reform in force as of 1st January 2004.

As concerns the balance sheet, loans to customers recorded a positive trend and as at 30th June 2004, exceeded 3 billion euro, with an almost 12% increase with respect to the same period of 2003. The most significant rise was recorded by medium-long terms loans that registered an approximately 18% surge in volumes with a strong growth rate for home mortgage loans.

Direct customer deposits totalled 2,759 million euro with a +5% growth rate with respect to June 2003, thus confirming the positive trend already recorded in December. Also indirect customer deposits rose and exceeded 5 billion euro (+2.5%), which included almost 3 billion euro of managed assets.

Shareholders' equity as at 30th June 2004 equalled 437 million euro compared to 426 million euro in the same period of 2003 (in 2003 the Bank distributed to Shareholders a dividend of 1.70 euro per share).

The improvement in the cost/income ratio, from 60.3% to 56.2%, is a sign of the Bank’s sound and fair management.

Luigi De Puppi, CEO of Banca Popolare FriulAdria, expressed his satisfaction for the Half-year results and commented as follows the great effort made by the Bank’s sales network, which was also well supported by the entire organisation:

“FriulAdria’s  branch network is dynamic, proactive and well-rooted on the local territory, it is capable of timely and professional responses to the requests of our over 280,000 customers”.

“In order to improve support to local enterprises FriulAdria further developed certain innovative services such as financial advisory, merchant banking and M&A which are offered via dedicated structures: Impresa&Finanza (Companies&Finance) and Finance Lab”.

“Important also the support given to enterprises in their internationalisation process. From this viewpoint, for the purpose of continuously expanding the integration with Banca Intesa’s international network, we have developed operating synergies with other banks in Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Russia with definite advantages for our respective customers. Furthermore we made our official entry in Slovenia, via direct investments in the capital of two local companies and we closed a collaboration agreement with Voivodjanska Banka, one of the most important banks in Serbia Montenegro”.

“In the current year  we are also engaged alongside Banca Intesa, in the support of a strategic project: the candidature of Trieste to host the 2008 Expo, which is an extraordinary catalyst for the economic development of our local territory in terms of infrastructures and an important opportunity for improving our image worldwide”.
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