SBC hails 'excellent' Warburg first half

Swiss Bank Corporation claimed yesterday that the integration of British investment bank SG Warburg had been successfully completed, as the Swiss group announced first-half earnings up 34 per cent due to higher commission and trading income.

SBC refused to supply separate figures for Warburg, which it bought in the spring of last year. While integration of the securities operations has gone well, many of Warburg's leading corporate finance people have left, and some corporate clients have also defected.

"It's been difficult for some people to reconcile themselves to the fact that UK corporate advice and finance, while important, isn't so important if you look at SBC as a whole," said one source. Analysts say that SBC took an aggressive line to the integration.

SBC chief financial officer Peter Wuffli said Warburg's first-half performance was "excellent''. He said that the British merchant bank had met the goals set at the time of the acquisition, although these were not specified yesterday.

The smallest of Switzerland's big three banks said net profit rose to SFr722m (pounds 388m), at the lower end of estimates, from SFr540m last time.

Last week Union Bank of Switzerland - the country's biggest bank - reported a 33 per cent net profit increase for a period that analysts have called the most turbulent six months in Swiss banking history.

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