SEB's first half year - operating profit SEK 8.7bn (7.6)
SEB's second quarter - operating profit SEK 4.6bn (3.9)
During the first half of 2007 business volumes remained strong with high activity levels in all of SEB's markets. Return on equity reached 20 per cent despite the Group's increased capitalisation. Earnings per share increased by 17 per cent compared with the first half of 2006.
SEB has a strong customer franchise. Over the last year SEB has actively strengthened customer relations further through increased pro-activity and more co-ordinated product offerings.
The higher operating profit resulted from a combination of continued solid income generation and stable costs. Income grew by 8 per cent, confirming the growth potential of SEB's business mix. Further proofs of quality are the many top rankings awarded to SEB, especially within corporate banking. With our dedicated and highly competent staff we can match much larger competitors in fields such as cash management, foreign exchange, custody and prime brokerage.
Underlying costs, i.e. excluding performance-related remuneration and redundancy costs, were stable - a result of a more integrated bank and of investments in enhanced productivity.
Cost-management will not hinder further investments in SEB's core areas of strength, which will generate continued organic growth. The Baltic markets remain attractive despite the macroeconomic situation which necessitates stringent credit risk management. The strengthened capital base and enhanced operating model offer opportunities for complementary add-on acquisitions in SEB's markets across the Baltic rim.
Top-line growth and cost-management remain the hallmark of SEB. Our ambition is to be top-ranked in terms of customer satisfaction within our selected segments in order to reach leadership in financial performance.
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