NETHERLANDS – KAS Bank says its first-half net profit rose seven percent to 8.8 million euros from 8.2 million euros a year ago, with the company forescasting a “healthy profit recovery”.

“KAS Bank showed good results and continued on the road taken at the end of last year towards result recovery,” said managing board chairman Sander von Balluseck.

“The constant growth in the client base for our European multi-market services is definitive proof of the trust in our organisation.

“With the good results for the first half under our belt we beleive that we can realsise a healthy profit for 2004 compared to last year.”

Total income was up 12%, or 3.5 million euros at 33.8 million euros. Custody and investment management services income rose nine percent, or one million euros, to 12.2 million euros. The rise reflected “the acquisition of new clients and higher stock market prices”.

The bank has cut its stafff numbers to 738 from 747 a year ago.

It also said that the shift to new international financial reporting standards would have a “significant effect” on how it accounts for pension charges. But it said the coverage ratio of its pension was “more than adequate” to meet rules set by the pensions regulator, the PVK.

The bank said in March that its overall 2003 net profit fell to 13.2 million euros from 53.8 million euros in 2002