SEB chief not satisfied, despite high profits

Swedish bank SEB has announced first quarter operating profits of 3.7 billion kronor, up from 2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2005.

Analysts has expected operating profits of 3.4 billion kronor, according to Reuters. Income was 9.6 billion kronor, compared with 7.9 for the same period in the same period last year.

Costs rose to 5.8 billion, from 5 billion in Q1 of 2005. Credit losses were largely unchanged at 198 million kronor.

New CEO Annika Falkengren said a good business climate, strong markets and a high activity level had contributed to SEB’s strong results for the first quarter. Income increased in all areas and all divisions reported increases in profits of more than 25 percent compared to 2005.

Turnover increase was particularly high in areas related to capital markets. But Falkengren insisted she was still not satisfied.

“We have not achieved our long-term aims. Although the higher costs can be explained by higher activity levels, we still need to improve cost effectiveness and productivity to create a cost base that is sustainable in the long term,” she said.

A programme for improving operational effectiveness has now been put into operation. Falkengren said in would take time before the results of this were seen on the balance sheet.

TT/The Local