NETHERLANDS - NIBC, the merchant bank that was formerly owned the two largest Dutch pension funds, has embarked on a hiring spree.

Following the positive half-year performance results released today, in which NIBC announced a net profit rise of 114% to €189m, the company commented "we are stepping up our search for talent".

Judith Jansen, vice president investor relations and corporate communications of NIBC, said "we are hiring people in the entire organisation, as we want to grow in our current activities. This requires new employees."

The firm is looking in all kinds of areas, but has already started recruiting from universities. "We are not specifically looking to recruit people from our old shareholders ABP and PGGM, as we are recruiting people from across the board," said Jansen.

NIBC also announced today that it has experienced a rise of 56% in its assets under management, now managing assets worth €7bn.

Last year NIBC's owners - the €194bn civil service scheme ABP and the €74bn healthcare scheme PGGM - sold the bank for approximately €2bn to venture capitalist Chris Flowers and a group of investors, which included ABN Amro, Banco Santander, CSFB, Delta Lloyd and Flowers' business partners.

At the end of July, IPE reported that the company was preparing for a stock exchange listing.