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Irish Life Rises as Company Says on ‘Recovery Path’

Irish Life & Permanent Plc rose the most in a month in Dublin trading after Ireland’s biggest pensions and life insurance company said it’s “on a recovery path” as operating losses narrowed.

The stock rose 4.3 percent to 1.45 euros at the 5:10 p.m. close in Dublin. Irish Life’s first-half loss narrowed to 10 million euros ($12.7 million) from 51 million euros in the year earlier period, the company said in a statement today.

Irish Life said its pension and life insurance business “should continue to perform well” even as its banking unit posts further losses in the second half of the year. The company is bidding to take control of EBS Building Society to create a so-called “third force” to take on Allied Irish Banks Plc and Bank of Ireland Plc.

“The better-than-expected first-half outcome is good news, suggesting our full-year numbers have a margin of comfort,” Emer Lang and Stephen Lyons, analysts at Dublin-based securities firm Davy, said in a note. “Yet uncertainty over the fate of the bank may continue to dominate sentiment in the short term.”

Irish Life’s banking unit posted an operating loss of 131 million euros, narrowing from a 132 million euro loss and beating a 182 million euro median-loss forecast of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Operating profit at the life insurance and pensions unit rose 40 percent to 118 million euros, beating analysts’ estimates of 93 million euros.

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