Irish Life & Permanent Plc, the largest life insurer and mortgage lender in Ireland, has reported profits increased by the healthy margin of 21% in the first half of the year as a result of increased demand for core products and gains on investments.

Total profit after tax for the first six months of the year was E220 million, up 21% from E182 million in 2004, under the new European Embedded Value basis. Pretax profit before discounted activities was E270 million – up 32% on last year’s E204 million.

Commenting on the results, group chief executive David Went said: The strong momentum which built up in all our core businesses in 2004 continued through the first half of 2005 when sales growth in all our business lines was extremely strong. New lending was up 13%, life and investment sales increased 33% with retail life sales ahead 24%, while investment inflows, on the back of prolonged superior investment performance were ahead 123%.

Overall the strong first half and the continued momentum with the business leaves us well placed for a successful full year outcome.