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Old Mutual's H1 profit up 87%; Nationwide's Q2 profit drops; Co-op loss widens

UK AND IRELAND

* Old Mutual Plc reported first-half IFRS profit after tax attributable to equity holders of the parent of £531 million, according to International Financial Reporting Standards, up from a restated £284 million in the year-ago period. Gross earned premiums rose on a yearly basis to £2.19 billion from £1.70 billion. Old Mutual also announced a first interim dividend of 3.53 pence, up 32%.

* Meanwhile, Mike Ilsley was appointed CFO of Old Mutual Emerging Markets Ltd. and CFO-designated of Old Mutual Ltd., the new South African holding company, which is to be listed next year.

* Nationwide Building Society reported second-quarter statutory after-tax profit of £240 million, down from £292 million in the year-ago period. Statutory pretax profit fell on a yearly basis to £322 million from £401 million, while underlying pretax profit also decreased, to £301 million from £368 million.

* Co-operative Bank Plc reported a first-half loss of £139.7 million, or 30.94 pence per share, compared to a year-ago loss of £132.1 million, or 29.26 pence per share. "The capital-raising proposal we announced in June is progressing to plan and is currently on track to conclude by September," said CEO Liam Coleman. "This will secure the future of the Co-operative Bank as a viable stand-alone entity with greater capital strength enabling a new phase in its turnaround."

* Prudential Plc reported first-half profit attributable to equity holders of the company of £1.51 billion under International Financial Reporting Standards, up from £687 million a year earlier. The British insurer said it intends to combine M&G Investment Management Ltd. and Prudential UK & Europe to form M&G Prudential, a savings and investments provider with £332 billion of AUM as of June-end. CEO Mike Wells said the decision to combine the businesses is largely about efficiency.

* Hong Kong-based commodity trader Noble Group Ltd., which yesterday reported a $1.9 billion loss for the first half, recently turned down a takeover offer from London-based fund Centricus, insiders told the Financial Times.

* Irish lenders are set to face increasing pressure from regulators to write off nonperforming loans, as Ireland remains among the European countries that are most badly affected by bad loans, an insider told Bloomberg News.

* Towergate Underwriting Group Ltd., which is part of The Ardonagh Group, yesterday launched FRAM, which will operate in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, where it will underwrite local commercial business specializing in property, casualty, financial lines, engineering and energy classes.

* Barclays Plc named Barry Rodrigues, former head of digital payments at Citigroup Inc.'s global consumer bank, as CEO of Barclaycard International, effective in early November. He replaces Amer Sajed.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Aareal Bank AG is planning to lay off some 100 employees, or about 3% of its workforce, following the acquisitions of Corealcredit Bank AG and Westdeutsche Immobilien Servicing AG, Börsen-Zeitung reported, adding that the lender has set aside €24 million in provisions for the staff reductions.

* Zurich Insurance Group AG had an "excellent" second quarter, making good progress with cost savings and offsetting all charges booked in the previous quarter related to a change in the U.K. personal injury discount rate, CEO Mario Greco said in a conference call.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* KBC Group NV's profit surge in the second quarter was in large part attributable to currency trading on its own account and writing back loan loss provisions in key markets, CEO Johan Thijs told analysts.

ITALY AND GREECE

* Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA said the Italian treasury took up €3.85 billion worth of the lender's shares in its capital increase, while a further €4.47 billion was raised via the conversion of subordinated bonds, Reuters wrote.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Vestjysk Bank A/S posted a second-quarter net profit of 52.8 million Danish kroner, compared to a loss of 1.1 million kroner in the prior-year period. For the first half, net profit amounted to 107.8 million kroner, up from 10.4 million kroner a year earlier. The lender sees the opportunity to get rid of restrictions imposed by the European Commission by the end of 2018 instead of in 2019, as its rescue plan is showing good results, Berlingske Business reported.

EASTERN EUROPE

* OTP Bank Nyrt. posted second-quarter unaudited consolidated net comprehensive income of 60.54 billion Hungarian forints, down from 71.30 billion forints in the year-ago period. For the first half, attributable net comprehensive income rose to 129.43 billion forints from 116.54 billion forints.

* MONETA Money Bank a.s. increased its full-year 2017 after-tax profit outlook to 3.65 billion Czech koruny from 3.5 billion koruny and affirmed its dividend policy, noting that it would continue distributing some of its excess capital to shareholders, Reuters reported. The lender reported second-quarter after-tax profit of 1.16 billion koruny, compared to the year-ago reclassified 1.20 billion koruny.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Qatar-linked banks face Abu Dhabi boycott; Nigerian court junks case vs. banks

Latin America: Supervielle profit up 245.2%; Chile bank regulator 'resisting' comptroller audit

North America: Pacific Premier buying Plaza Bancorp for $226.3M; Wells facing more scrutiny

North America Insurance: Goldman selling Rothesay Life stake; Anthem to submit data breach response plan

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David Hutter, Ed Meza, Meike Wijers, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Thanasis Kakalis, Ali Kayalar, Heather O'Brian, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

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