Swedish bank Handelsbanken has reported that in full-year 2005, operating profit increased by 16% to SEK15.7 billion.

Profits were boosted by rising net commission income, which rose 2% on the back of higher business volumes in branch offices outside Sweden. The bank noted that a key factor in its figures was the continuing decrease in gross losses, and steady rate of recoveries.

Handelsbanken said it would continue its expansion throughout 2006 and had plans to open 15 to 20 new branches outside its home market. Alongside this, it reiterated its aim to open a representative office in India and said it had already begun applying for permission from the authorities there.