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Norwegian financier feels pinch

NORWAY'S largest financial group, DnB NOR ASA, said yesterday its profits tumbled 60 percent in the second quarter, citing the global financial turmoil and losses in its Baltic operations.

Net profit was 1.2 billion kroner (US$184 million), down from 3.3 billion kroner in the second quarter last year.

The Oslo-based bank said it made writedowns for loan losses in the Baltic countries of Latvia and Lithuania, which have been severely hit by the economic downturn.

Net interest income rose to 5.65 billion kroner, from 5.02 billion kroner in the same period of 2008.

"In light of the current economic downturn, we are satisfied with these figures," DnB NOR Chief Executive Rune Bjerke said.

Bjerke said DnB NOR "has a good chance of strengthening income in the business areas while reducing costs through streamlining measures" for the rest of the year.


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