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UBS AG announces 33% profits increase

Switzerland's biggest bank UBS AG has announced a 33 per cent increase in its first quarter profits thanks to a higher than expected income from its private banking business and good trading conditions for investment banking.

The banking giant saw profits rise to $2.83 billion in the first three months of the year, compared with $2.14 billion for the same period of 2005.

And, as has been the case with many of the larger banks this quarter, the net profits exceeded the expectations of banking analysts.

Commenting on a successful few months, Clive Standish, chief financial officer at UBS, said that the bank had benefited from its already strong position in the investment banking sector.

"The strong position we have in our areas of focus allowed us to take full advantage of the positive environment, producing our best quarterly performance ever," Mr Standish said.

"Our trading businesses benefited from the healthy rise in financial markets, with the growing asset base in our wealth and asset management businesses driving recurring income higher."

However, Mr Standish was adamant that the bank's success would continue regardless of the current situation.

"We remain confident in the outlook for UBS, even if conditions change.

"To ensure we continue to make the most of business opportunities, whatever the environment, we will apply discipline towards both costs and management of all forms of risk, while further investing in our areas of strategic focus," he added.