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Strong third quarter for Citigroup

Financial services corporation Citigroup, one of the largest companies in the world, has reported a 6% increase in profits from continuing operations to $5.3 billion in the third quarter of this year, compared with just under $5 billion in the same period last year.

The positive figures were driven by the strong performance of its consumer businesses, with card purchase sales increasing by 18% and average loans increasing by 9%. However, corporate and investment banking revenues were disappointing with net income declining 6% and 4%, respectively.

Although the corporation’s overall net income was down to $5.51 billion from $7.14 billion in the third quarter last year, the 2005 figures were inflated by the sale of the insurance subsidiary MetLife.

As we move into the fourth quarter, our priorities remain clear: executing on our strategic initiatives to drive organic growth, targeted acquisitions, expense discipline, and generating revenue and earnings growth and superior returns for our owners, said Charles Prince, chairman and chief executive officer of Citigroup.

Media reports have also quoted Mr Prince scotching recent rumors that Citigroup was looking to acquire a major European financial institution. Rumors had linked Citigroup to a bid for either Barclays Bank or Societe Generale of France.