Nationalized Dutch bank ABN Amro's 1st-quarter net profit soars to best result in 4 years

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Nationalized Dutch bank ABN Amro says underlying net profit rose 44 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to 543 million euros ($611 million), its best quarter in four years.

The bank, which is gearing up to be re-privatized, announced Wednesday its operating income rose 9 percent compared with 2014's first quarter, to 2.17 billion euros ($2.44 billion).

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem announced in March he was delaying a decision on privatizing the bank amid public outrage at a 100,000-euro pay rise handed to most of ABN Amro's directors as compensation for being banned from receiving bonuses.

The directors quickly backtracked and canceled the pay rise. Chairman of the Board Gerrit Zalm says he regrets the pay rises and the bank is working to restore public confidence.

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