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Cortal Consors achieves a strong increase of operating income in the 2nd half of 2003, and strengthens the development of brokerage and savings businesses

In a more favorable market environment, Cortal Consors operating income reached 12.0m euros in the 2nd half of 2003, thus showing a very strong increase compared with the breakeven point reached during the first half of the year.
In the 2nd half of 2003, the number of executed orders increased by +12% compared to first six months, and asset gathering collection increased by +20%.
Integration of Consors was finalised within scheduled time. Synergies of 46.7m euros were achieved by end of 2003 - representing 88% of the total synergies' amount as forecast for end of 2005. The group is thus almost a year ahead compared to initial objectives.

* On-going increase of brokerage and savings businesses:

The number of orders executed during the 2nd half of 2003 amounts to 3.6 millions, an increase of +12% compared to the first half, while asset gathering collection increased by +20%.

In Germany, the number of trades during the second half of the year increased by +23% compared to the 1st half. The development of OTC (over-the-counter) trades was pursued, in order to provide clients with more attractive prices than those of the stock exchanges. As a result, compared to 2002, OTC trades increased by +136% in 2003.

In France, the trading tool ‘Active Trader' introduced in June 2003, is already used by more than 4,000 clients and 15% of all orders are transmitted via this tool. Asset gathering collection achieved good end of year results, with the best long-term collection realised over the last 18 months.

In the other countries (Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy), asset gathering collection achieved a remarkable development in 2003 (+18% compared to year 2002) and represented 39% of all Group asset gathering collection.

In particular Cortal Consors in Italy managed to strengthen significantly its Independant Financial Advisors ( Promotori ) network (160 Promotori as of end 2003) by offering a large range of products and services. This way, asset gathering collection in 2003 increased by 60% compared to 2002.

* Increase of operating income during second half of 2003.

Operating income reached €12.0m in the second half of 2003 and the result after goodwill amortisation and exeptional items is breakeven. This significant increase was achieved by both increase of revenues and on-going reduction of costs. Operating expenses decreased by 39% between 2001 and 2003.

Net Banking Income reached 206.7m euros in 2003. Pro-forma operating expenses decreased by 20% compared to the previous year and amount to 194.9m euros. The operating income for 2003 amounts to 12.6m euros.

* Cortal Consors: the brand of the leading European broker in personal investing and online trading.

By launching the new brand in October 2003, Cortal Consors reinforced its position as the leading European broker in personal investing and online trading.

Managing 1.1 millions clients and 13.7bn euros assets (+24% compared to 2002), Cortal Consors development is based both on asset gathering and on-line brokerage business. As of end 2003, 38% of assests under management are invested in securities, 52% in savings products and 10% in cash deposits.

Direct distribution channels (internet, telephone) are completed by face to face solutions:
Independent Financial Advisors in France, Spain, Italy and Germany (from 2004 on), and Investment shops in France, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Cortal Consors, a company of BNP Paribas, is the leading European broker in personal investing and online trading and offers to more than one million clients a complete range of products and investment services through various distribution channels. Cortal Consors is present in 6 European countries: Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Luxemburg and Italy.