Baring Securities reports first-half loss

JOHN EISENHAMMER

Financial Editor

Baring Securities is still struggling to emerge from the traumas of the collapse of the merchant bank, making a loss in the first half of 1995, according to results announced yesterday by its parent, ING, the Dutch bancassurer.

"Baring Brothers and Baring Asset Management made a positive contribution to the result. Because of the adverse market conditions, Baring Securities, on balance, has not yet had a positive result, although the financial outlook shows an improving trend," ING said.

ING rescued Baring for pounds 660m in March, after the City merchant bank was crushed under the weight of nearly pounds 900m of derivatives losses run up by Nick Leeson, a senior trader in Singapore.

ING reported group interim pre-tax profits in line with analysts' expectations, up at 1.7bn guilders (pounds 680m) from 1.4bn guilders for the previous year, adjusted to reflect changes in banking accounting.

ING said it had achieved strong growth in the first half, despite lower currency rates, with results from insurance developing well and banking results showing strong growth thanks to an improved second quarter. Changes in exchange rates had depressed insurance profits by 56m guilders and banking profits by 28 m guilders from a year earlier.

Aad Jacob's ING's chairman, said the group was interested in acquiring a stake in Reed Elsevier's Dutch newspaper group, Nederlandse Dagbladunie.

"We would like to play a role in Dagbladunie's future, whether it continues as an independent company or it becomes part of a larger publisher. The group is certainly a commercially viable organisation," Mr Jacobs said.

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