Dutch diversified financial services company ING has reported a 72% increase in profits for the first three months of the year. The company attributed the significant rise to strong performances from its life insurance and Internet banking operations, alongside strategic asset sales.

ING achieved a net income of E1.94 billion, compared to E1.13 billion a year earlier. Net profit from insurance activities increased from E467 million to E730 as the company experienced growth across all business regions, particularly in Asia/Pacific where before tax profit doubled.

Additionally, banking income increased by 82.7% from E663 million to E1,211 million, mainly on the back of a 62.8% growth in Internet operations. Figures were also boosted by ING’s sale of Baring Asset Management, a disposal of a Polish subsidiary and the listing of its Canadian operation.

However Cees Maas, chief financial officer of ING, was cautious about prospects for the remainder of the year. Citing a weak equity market and disappointing growth in Europe, Maas said that the operating environment could become more difficult.