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4Q net profit of 724 million euros on the back of a strong core-market position

(PresseBox) (Frankfurt, ) KBC ended the last three months of 2010 with a net profit of 724 million euros, compared with a net profit of 545 million euros in the previous quarter and 304 million euros in the corresponding quarter of 2009. As a result, net profit came to 1 860 million euros in full-year 2010, as opposed to a net loss of 2 466 million euros in 2009 (which included a significant CDO-related loss in the first quarter of 2009).

The 'underlying' net result for the quarter under review (after excluding one-off and exceptional items) came to 168 million euros, compared with 445 million euros in 3Q 2010 and 218 million euros in 4Q 2009.

Jan Vanhevel, Group CEO: 'The high level of profit recorded for the last quarter of 2010 was driven by strong revenues generated by our strategic banking and insurance business model in our Belgian and Central and Eastern European home markets, as well as by the divestments we have made. At 724 million euros, the fourth-quarter result was characterised by stronger net interest income and higher fees and commissions. However, it was also affected by additional loan loss provisioning in Ireland and a one-off provision for a case of irregularities at the leasing business in the UK. Nevertheless, our core markets have been the main contributors to our quarterly result, with a good performance being turned in by Belgium and a solid performance recorded by our operations in Central and Eastern Europe. The most noteworthy exceptional items were the capital gains on two of our divestment projects, as well as positive value adjustments on our CDO portfolio.

Over the whole of 2010, KBC generated net profit of 1 860 million euros, a clear break from the results of the previous two years. After two loss-making years, we have again recorded a positive result. Our earnings per share amounted to 3.72 euros, after taking into account the coupon to be paid on the core-capital securities sold to the Belgian State and the Flemish Region. We will duly propose to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders that a dividend of 0.75 euros be paid.'

The IFRS and underlying income statement summary tables are provided further on in this earnings statement

Financial highlights for 4Q 2010 compared to 3Q 2010:

- Higher net interest income driven by both volume growth in our core markets and high margins.
- Increased fee and commission income resulting from a highly effective sales campaign in Belgium.
- Improved combined ratio of 98% thanks to substantially lower claims. Successful life insurance campaign in Belgium.
- Weak dealing room income in line with our peers.
- One-off provision for irregularities at KBC Lease UK to cover maximum exposure before any possible recovery.
- Operating expenses remain under control, but with some end-of-year effects.
- Significantly lower loan loss provisions in CEE, stable trend in Belgium and an additional provision in Ireland.
- Continued strong capital base: pro forma tier-1 ratio - including the effect of all divestments for which a sale agreement has been signed to date - at approximately 13.5%.