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ECONOMY

Danske Bank posts best result since 2008

The bank's shares jumped to a six year high after the release of first half results that were far above last year's mark.

Danske Bank posts best result since 2008
Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix
Denmark's biggest bank, Danske Bank, on Thursday raised its full-year net profit guidance citing rising income as it posted its strongest quarterly result since the country's housing market
collapsed in 2008.
 
"Our progress thus far in 2014 shows that we are on track to create a more customer-focused, cost-effective and competitive bank," chief executive Thomas Borgen said in a statement.
 
The bank expects annual net profit to be between 10 billion and 13 billion kroner  ($1.8-$2.3 billion) rather than a previous estimate at the higher end of a range of 9-12 billion kroner.
 
Net profit in the three months ending 30 June rose 85 percent to 4.05 billion kroner, driven by a three-percent rise in net interest income, falling loan impairment charges, and a 1.0-billion kroner gain from the sale of the group's stake in payment services provider Nets.
 
"The stronger outlook is owing mainly to positive developments in expenses and impairments as well as the positive effect relating to Nets," Danske Bank said in a statement.
 
The group said a pre-tax loss of 800 million kroner from non-core activities — mainly its operations in Ireland, where it is winding down operations after being hit by a burst property bubble — was in line with expectations.
 
"Interest and fee income is clearly better than expected, and shows that the economy is doing better," Sydbank analyst Bjoern Schwarz told news agency Ritzau.
 
Cost reductions were also "going really well," he added.
 
Shares in Danske Bank were up by 5.2 percent in late morning trading on the Copenhagen bourse, where the main index was 0.5 percent higher. Share prices reached their highest level since May 2008. 

 
Speaking to TV2, Borgen said that Danske Bank’s strong results were a good sign for Denmark. 
 
“Danske Bank is a mirror image of the Danish economy, so the report is a reflection of the fact that both households and businesses are doing better. We are seeing an increase in new activity that is grabbing ahold of the Danish economy,” he said. 
 
The bank’s positive results came just one day after Statistics Denmark’s consumer expectations survey showed that Danes’ level of consumer confidence was at its highest point since before the financial crisis

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SAS

‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers. 

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