BRUSSELS May 11 Belgian financial group KBC
Groep NV on Thursday reported a better-than-expected
net profit for the first quarter, as lending and deposits rose
while low loan loss provisions and insurance claims also helped
Deposits and loans advanced in most of its markets,
including at its main units in Belgium and the Czech Republic,
leading to an overall increase of 4 percent for loans and 10
percent for deposits.
The group's combined ratio - costs plus claims as a
percentage of revenues, a key profit indicator in the non-life
insurance sector - fell to 79 percent from 91 percent a year
ago, a number KBC called "exceptionally low".
Last year's insurance results were impacted by the bombings
at the Brussels Airport and the city's metro on March 22, which
killed 32 people and wounded many others.
For the group as a whole, net profit rose by more than 60
percent in the first quarter to 630 million euros ($684.68
million), well above the 501 million expected in a Reuters poll
of six analysts.
($1 = 0.9201 euros)
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)