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Banca del Gottardo: Sound result for 2004

Lugano (ots) - The Banca del Gottardo Group posted a net profit of 71 million Swiss francs in 2004 (down 17% from a year earlier) and recurrent income (before extraordinary items and taxes) of 78 million Swiss francs (+2%). Assets under management rose 7% to 41.1 billion francs. The group continued its strategy of expanding in onshore markets. Following its complete acquisition by the bank, French asset management company Oudart has been consolidated for the first time. 2004 net profit for the Banca del Gottardo Group was down 17% from a year earlier at 71 million francs. This was mainly due to a 66% increase in the tax burden from 9 million francs to 16 million francs. In 2003 the bank benefited from a tax credit following the accounting loss reported in 2002. At 78 million francs, profit before extraordinary items and tax was 2% higher in 2004 than in the previous year. The various business segments contributed as follows towards consolidated net revenues of 450 million francs. Commissions and service fees were up 6% on 2003 reaching 245 million francs. Results from interest activities totalled 144 million francs (-3%) and again proved to be a stable revenue source. Lacklustre market conditions on the other hand negatively affected trading operations, which netted 52 million francs, down 34% compared to the previous year's exceptionally strong result. Operating expenses totalled 309 million francs. The 6% increase in costs compared to 2003 is attributable to investments made to support the bank's local and international expansion drive. In Italy, the bank opened branches in Rome, Turin and Treviso. In France, it acquired the share capital of Paris-based Oudart not previously owned (asset management company). Growth in operating expenses in the remaining Group structures is strictly monitored as part of a continuous effort to optimise operating efficiency. Positive bottom line effects also resulted from lower depreciation, provisions and valuation adjustments (63 million francs), a decrease of over 35 million francs, or 36% compared to 2003. Consolidated shareholders' equity before distribution of attributable profit exceeded 1 billion francs at 31 December 2004 (+10%). Assets under management reached 41.1 billion francs. This 7% increase, amounting to 2.5 billion francs, was partly due to the acquisition of the remaining share capital of Oudart. Though the year's financial result did not fully meet expectations, management considers 2004 to have been a positive year. Marco Netzer, CEO: "The decision taken by Swiss Life last spring to keep the bank, and to transfer it from the insurance company to Swiss Life Holding removed many uncertainties regarding the bank's future. We are now again in a position to focus on our current business activities and further development." Banca del Gottardo, with headquarters in Lugano, has a well-established network of national and international offices. With subsidiaries, branches and representative offices in Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne, Bellinzona, Chiasso, Locarno, Athens, Bergamo, Milan, Rome, Treviso, Turin, Athens, Luxembourg, Monaco, Paris, Hong Kong and Nassau (Bahamas), Banca del Gottardo is positioned to offer top-of-the-line global financial services, delivered by a team of highly qualified specialists, to its local and international clientele. ots Originaltext: Banca del Gottardo Internet: www.presseportal.ch Contact: Franco Rogantini Media Office Tel. +41-91-808'33'60 Fax +41-91-923'94'33 E-Mail: franco.rogantini@gottardo.com Banca del Gottardo Viale S. Franscini 8 6901 Lugano

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