Belgian financial services company Fortis has reported a positive overall first quarter but mixed results from it two core business areas. Overall, net profit improved by 6%, while banking income increased, but the company's insurance profit was down.

Fortis, Belgium’s biggest financial services company, delivered net income of E1.5 billion, compared with E1.4 billion a year earlier. Banking profit increased by 40% to E776 million, compared with E553 in 2004, as a result of higher revenues and lower debt provisioning.

Banking revenue rose 13% to E2.4 billion. Meanwhile, provisions fell 73% to E25 million. However, insurance income dropped 24% to E305 million.

Jean-Paul Votron, Fortis’ CEO, commented: The results we present today show that Fortis has got off to a very good start in 2005. Compared with the very strong first quarter last year, our net profit increased by 26% if we exclude the capital gain on the sale of Seguros Bilbao and the impact of the transactions with respect to Assurant.