Jul 31, 9:34 AM EDT

Italian bank Intesa SanPaolo sees 2nd-quarter profits soar

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Italian bank Intesa SanPaolo sees 2nd-quarter profits soar

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MILAN (AP) -- Second-quarter earnings at Italian bank Intesa SanPaolo more than quadrupled thanks to lower provisions amid signs of economic recovery and an improved credit market.

Italy's second-largest bank by assets reported Friday net income of 940 million euros ($1 billion) for the quarter, up from 217 million euros in the same period last year. The bank said its first-half profit of more than 2 billion was its best since the bank was created in 2007.

`'We achieved results that place us at the top of the industry in Europe," said CEO Carlo Messina.

Shares in the bank were trading up nearly 1 percent at 3.492 euros.

Net fees and commission rose 15 percent to 1.9 billion euros. Interest income in the quarter was down 6 percent to 1.9 billion euros, and trading profits also slid.

The bank noted, however, an improving credit trend in the first half, with provisions for bad loans down by one third and loans to families and businesses up by 40 percent.

Intesa SanPaolo said it would pay out 2 billion euros in dividends this year. The Tier 1 ratio, a measure of the bank's health, rose to 13.3 percent at the end of June, from 13.2 percent three months earlier.

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