MILAN - UniCredit announced Tuesday what it called its best half-year results in a decade although heightened political risks in Italy could hamper efforts to reinforce a key indicator of the bank's ability to withstand a crisis.

In the period from April through June the bank's net profit climbed by 8.3 percent to 1.02 billion euros ($1.2 billion), a figure which beat analyst expectations by nearly 50 million euros.

But revenue slid 4.3 percent to 4.95 billion, a figure which nonetheless also beat analyst expectations.

Chief executive Jean Pierre Mustier said the first half results, which saw net profit jump 15.3 percent to 2.1 billion euros, were the best since 2008.

Investors welcomed the results, with shares in the bank rising 2.8 percent in midday trading while the Milan stock exchange's main index was up 1.1 percent overall.

"The UniCredit team has delivered another very solid set of results in the first half of 2018 despite a more challenging market and geopolitical context," Mustier said in the earnings statement.

He also said: "We remain confident in the European and Italian economy and their strong underlying fundamentals."

However the greater spread between Italian and benchmark German government bonds, the risk premium investors demand to hold Italian debt, did dent a key ratio of UniCredit's capital to its risk-weighted assets.

The so-called fully-loaded CET1 ratio, an indicator of a bank's ability to withstand a crisis, slid from 13.06 percent at the end of March to 12.51 percent at the end of June, which is still comfortably higher than what regulators require.

The spread between Italian and German debt shot up in May as investors were spooked by what economic course a new far-right and populist coalition government, finally installed in June, would take.

UniCredit said it planned to keep the ratio between 12.3 and 12.6 percent at the end of this year, and above 12.5 percent at the end of 2015, but added this was at the current risk spread.

The bank made progress in reducing its risky assets in the second quarter, with the level declining by 2 billion euros to 42.6 billion.

UniCredit also made progress in the massive restructuring programme it unleashed after Mustier took over the bank in 2016, having accomplished 84 percent of the 944 branch office closures by 2019 it set as a target. It has also cut 87 percent of the 14,000 jobs it targeted.