DNBNOR - GOOD START FOR DNB NOR: PROFITS OF NOK 5.4 BILLION

`We are pleased with profits of NOK 5.4 billion in 2003,` says Svein Aaser, group chief executive in DnB NOR. Relative to comparable figures for 2002, profits are up close to 50 per cent, giving a return on equity before goodwill amortisation of 14.3 per cent. Attachment on www.newsweb.no `We are pleased with profits of NOK 5.4 billion in 2003,` says Svein Aaser, group chief executive in DnB NOR. Relative to comparable figures for 2002, profits are up close to 50 per cent, giving a return on equity before goodwill amortisation of 14.3 per cent. Aaser indicates that he is especially pleased with the healthy trend in volumes. `With an increase in lending of 12.2 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2002 and good growth figures for a number of other key products and services, we have strengthened our market position during the year. Such performance is not something to be taken for granted in a year largely dominated by the merger between Gjensidige NOR and DnB,` says Aaser, who commends group staff for excellent customer service. `2003 featured a marked decline in interest rates and a weakened Norwegian krone. It is apparent that the situation for the Norwegian business sector is far better than a year ago,` says Aaser. `Although the willingness to invest remains low, the level of activity is on the way up, which will have a positive impact on profits. The rise in other operating income from NOK 5 658 million in 2002 to NOK 8 302 million in 2003 has thus more than compensated for the loss of earnings resulting from lower interest rates. The positive developments in the Norwegian economy also contributed to the downward trend in loan losses during the second half of 2003,` says Aaser. The Board of Directors in DnB NOR has proposed a dividend of NOK 2.20 per share (NOK 2.14 in 2002). `In 2003 we devoted a great deal of effort to the planning of the merger. Today we can safely say that the integration is progressing according to schedule, and we have moved into 2004 with an exceptionally high level of activity both towards customers and within the organisation. Together with the improved economic outlook for the Norwegian business and household sectors, this gives us good reason to expect sound profits for DnB NOR in 2004 as well,` says group chief executive Svein Aaser. Review of the annual accounts, accounting figures, 4th quarter report and presentation can be found on www.newsweb.no

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DNB is Norway's largest financial services group and offers financial products and services, including loans and deposits, mutual funds and asset management, life insurance and pension savings, payment and financing services, real estate broking and services related to the money and capital markets.

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