UPDATE 3-Van Lanschot eyes deals including KBL assets

Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:30am EDT

* Eyes KBC's Dutch private banking unit, and other parts

* 2010 core net profit 65.7 mln euros (poll range 54-75 mln)

* CEO sees normalised profit of 160 mln to 225 mln euros

* Resumes dividend of 0.70 euros (poll range 0.50-0.83)

* Van Lanschot shares up 3.8 pct but in low volume

(Adds CEO and CFO comment, updates share price)

By Sara Webb and Gilbert Kreijger

AMSTERDAM, March 18 (Reuters) - Dutch private bank Van Lanschot (VLAN.AS) said on Friday it was looking at acquisitions and would be interested in buying some assets from Luxembourg-based KBL European Private Bankers.

Belgian banking and insurance group KBC Groep (KBC.BR) this week called off the planned sale of KBL, its private banking arm, to the Hinduja Group, a 1.35 billion euro ($1.9 billion) deal announced nearly a year ago.[ID:nWEA8495]

Van Lanschot chief executive Floris Deckers told ANP-Reuters on Friday he would be interested in KBL assets now the deal with Hinduja Group was off.

KBL owns Theodoor Gilissen Private Bankers in the Netherlands and has private banking operations in Britain, Spain, Monaco and Switzerland, according to its website.

"We know each other so well that we have been almost continuously in touch in the past year," Deckers said when asked if he had contacted KBC again about the private banking operations.

Van Lanschot, which manages 35.4 billion euros in assets for wealthy individuals and pension funds, signalled a year ago that it was interested in expanding through acquisitions.

Analysts said at the time the bank was not financially strong enough, but Van Lanschot on Friday reported a strong recovery in the second half of 2010, driven by higher fees and interest margins, and forecast continued growth this year.

"We have just shown that our capital ratios are good, but it is too early to speculate how much of this we could use for a potential acquisition," said Constant Korthout, Van Lanschot's chief financial officer.

The bank's core Tier I ratio rose to 9.6 percent at the end of 2010 from 6.6 percent at the end of 2009.

Deckers said the bank was on its way to a normalised net profit level of 160 million to 225 million euros -- or 4 to 5 euros per share, based on about 40 million shares currently outstanding -- but he declined to say when this could be achieved.

The private bank resumed dividend payments, as expected, as it swung to a full-year net profit of 65.7 million euros ($92.05 million) for 2010 from a loss of 14.8 million euros in 2009.

A poll conducted for Reuters, but based on just three analysts' estimates, had forecast core net profit in a range of 54 million to 75 million euros. The dividend of 0.70 euro was also within the forecast range of 0.50 to 0.83 euro.

Van Lanschot expects income to rise this year and for growth in funds under management to generate higher management fees.

The Dutch wealth manager, whose business dates back to 1737, has a stock market value of about 930 million euros. Its shares rose 3.8 percent, though only 9,000 had changed hands. (Editing by Hans Peters and Will Waterman) ($1 = 0.7137 euro)

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