Anglo Irish Bank upbeat on record 56% profits rise

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The Independent Online
ANGLO IRISH Bank, one of the star performers of the Irish business banking sector, expects growth in the UK to spur profits over the next year.

Yesterday it posted profits ahead of expectations, up 56 per cent to a record 89.1m euros (pounds 139.9m). Analysts had expected up to 82m euros. UK business accounted for 17.5m euros, up from 12m euros.

The Irish boom is expected to plateau in the next year while the UK, which is at a different stage in the economic cycle, will remain a key market for organic growth. "The UK economy remains buoyant," said chief executive Sean FitzPatrick.

Anglo Irish is looking to buy similar business-lending banks in Europe, and William McAteer, finance director, said the recent purchase of part of the Hypo Vereinsbank loan portfolio in the UK had contributed strongly to earnings. But one, unnamed, potential target in the UK had fallen through. "We will consider acquisitions when they fit our criteria. That one didn't fit," the bank said.

He was upbeat about prospects for growth over the medium term, predicting profits will rise at 15 per cent per annum. Anglo Irish's annual results showed its total assets had grown 41 per cent to 7.87bn euros (pounds 12.35bn). Adjusted earnings per share have more than doubled in three years. In the year to September they rose 46 per cent.