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ING Q4 Net Result Rises

Dutch banking firm ING Group NV (ING) reported that its fourth-quarter 2018 net result was 1.273 billion euros, up from 1.015 billion euros in the fourth quarter of 2017. Net result per share was 0.33 euros, compared to 0.26 euros in the prior year.

Year-on-year, the underlying net result rose by 237 million euros to 1.238 billion euros. Commercial momentum continued in the fourth quarter of 2018 as the number of primary clients grew by 300,000 to 12.5 million. ING recorded 3.2 billion euros of net core lending growth in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The fourth-quarter 2018 underlying result before tax of 1.692 billion euros was mainly attributable to strong net interest income (supported by resilient margins), solid net fee and commission income, and a higher profit from our stake in TMB, while risk costs remained well below ING's through-thecycle average. The pre-tax result was negatively affected by higher expenses, mainly due to the annual Dutch bank tax, which was fully recorded in the fourth quarter. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, the underlying result before tax rose 8.5%.

Total underlying income rose 3.0% to 4.501 billion euros compared with the fourth quarter of 2017. The increase mainly reflected business growth in Retail Challengers & Growth Markets and in the Wholesale Banking lending activities, as well as an improvement of the result in the Corporate Line. These drivers more than outpaced negative currency impacts, notably the depreciation of the Turkish lira against the euro, and lower income in Retail Benelux. Financial Markets revenues remained low and ended just slightly above last year's level.

Underlying net interest income increased to 3.571 billion euros from 3.512 billion euros in the fourth quarter of 2017, despite a 60 million euros decline in the volatile interest results of Financial Markets.

Net fee and commission income rose to 704 million euros from 674 million euros one year ago.

The Board proposed to pay a total 2018 dividend of 2.6 billion euros, or 0.68 euros per ordinary share, subject to the approval of shareholders at the Annual General Meeting in April 2019. Taking into account the interim dividend of 0.24 euros per ordinary share that was paid in August 2018, the final 2018 proposed dividend amounts to 0.44 euros per ordinary share and will be paid in cash shortly after the Annual General Meeting.

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