NETHERLANDS – Rabobank says its asset management activities’ pre-tax operating profit fell six percent to 80 million euros in the first half of 2004.

“Asset management activities produced an operating profit before taxation of 80 million euros for the first six months compared with 85 million euros for the same period of 2003,” the Dutch bank said.

Rabobank said that as at the end of June it had 195 billion euros managed and under custody, a six percent rise on the end of 2003.

Its Interpolis arm’s assets under management for third-party pension funds rose to 20 billion euros from 19 billion euros.

Real estate operations, comprising Rabo Vastgoed and FGH Bank, had a pre-tax operating profit of 37 million euros. It said: “The Dutch real estate market is still contending with a large number of empty offices and business premises, with no recovery yet in sight.”

Overall, the bank’s pre-tax operating profit rose 15% to 1.39 billion euros – “with all group units reporting an improved result, except for asset management activities”.

“In the first half of 2004, Rabobank Group benefited from the upturn in the economy. Retail banking, the Group’s core business, deserves special mention for its good performance,” said executive board chairman Bert Heemskerk.