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LONDON May 7 (Reuters) - Dutch financial group ING made underlying profits of 988 million euros ($1.38 billion) in the first quarter of the year, missing expectations, as loan losses remained high despite a better outlook for the Dutch economy.
A Reuters poll of ten analysts predicted underlying net profits of 1.103 billion euros for the group, which is selling its insurance arm later this year. On Wednesday, ING said it would inject 850 million euros into the insurer.
"ING Bank posted a solid first-quarter underlying pre-tax result of 1.176 billion euros, reflecting an increase in the net interest margin and lower risk costs as economic conditions improved," Chief Executive Ralph Hamers said in a statement.
Loan losses at the bank came in at 468 million euros for the quarter, down on the 561 million euros in the first quarter of 2013 and in line with the bank's guidance that last year was the peak. Net lending grew by 5.1 billion euros.
The group confirmed that a mooted stock market offering of its insurance arm would now only be a secondary listing, after it attracted private investment of 1.275 billion euros and agreed to put 850 million euros of group capital into the insurer. ($1 = 0.7177 euros) (Reporting By Laura Noonan; Editing by Miral Fahmy)