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Sec­ond-quar­ter earn­ings at Ital­ian bank In­tesa San­Paolo more than quadru­pled thanks to lower pro­vi­sions amid signs of eco­nomic re­cov­ery and an im­proved credit mar­ket. Italy's sec­ond-largest bank by as­sets re­ported net in­come of 940 mil­lion eu­ros ($1 bil­lion) for the quar­ter, up from 217 mil­lion eu­ros in the same pe­riod last year. The bank said its first-half profit of more than 2 bil­lion was its best since the bank was cre­ated in 2007.

"We achieved re­sults that place us at the top of the in­dus­try in Europe," said CEO Carlo Messina.

Shares in the bank were trad­ing up nearly 1 per­cent at 3.492 eu­ros.

Net fees and com­mis­sion rose 15 per­cent to 1.9 bil­lion eu­ros. In­ter­est in­come in the quar­ter was down 6 per­cent to 1.9 bil­lion eu­ros, and trad­ing prof­its also slid.

The bank noted, how­ever, an im­prov­ing credit trend in the first half, with pro­vi­sions for bad loans down by one third and loans to fam­i­lies and busi­nesses up by 40 per­cent. In­tesa San­Paolo said it would pay out 2 bil­lion eu­ros in div­i­dends this year. The Tier 1 ra­tio, a mea­sure of the bank's health, rose to 13.3 per­cent at the end of June, from 13.2 per­cent three months ear­lier.

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