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STOCKHOLM, April 29 (Reuters) - Nordea, the Nordic region's biggest bank by market value, said on Tuesday activity in its corporate advisory business had picked up as its first-quarter operating profit topped forecasts.
Operating profit for the period was 1.11 billion euros ($1.5 billion) compared with a mean forecast for 1.09 billion seen in a Reuters poll of analysts and a year-ago 1.04 billion.
"The activity level in our corporate advisory operations has picked up in the beginning of 2014 and remains strong in the savings area," CEO Christian Clausen said in a statement.
"However, lending demand is subdued and interest rates remain at very low levels. In this environment we continue to execute on our cost and capital efficiency programmes..."
The bank is in the midst of accelerating a cost savings programme to create 900 million euros in savings by 2015.
($1 = 0.7319 euros)