Irish

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Bad loans lead to €219m loss at ACC

Peter Flanagan

Published 27/06/2013 | 04:00

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ACC’s Kevin Knightly: outlook challenging

LOSSES at ACC Bank widened last year as the company continued to struggle with bad loans.

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For the year to the end of 2012, Rabobank-owned ACC posted a pre-tax loss of €219m compared to €186m in 2011.

The bank booked an impairment charge of €234m, slightly more than the year before. The lender has now taken impairment charges of around €1.2bn.

Total income fell 18pc, ACC said, as impairments mounted.

The losses are mainly on loans originally made to property developers.

ACC's country manager for Ireland Kevin Knightly admitted the short-term outlook for Ireland "remains challenging" but said the firm was "continuing to focus on addressing the issues in the loan book".

"Throughout 2012, the bank continued to make progress in addressing the issues it faces as a result of the ongoing recession in Ireland and the lack of liquidity in the market," the bank said.

"Losses in 2012 reflect another year of challenges in the current market especially in regard to property related exposures," it added.

Last year the ACC said it had no plans to exit the market here despite ongoing losses.

After last year's loss its Dutch parent had to pump money into the Irish unit for a fourth year, taking total cost of the rescue to €930m over the period.

ACC's parent Rabobank is owned by Dutch farming cooperatives and the bank has become a global leader in lending to the agri-sector.

Despite that history, it became a significant lender to property developers here during the boom.

Since then, the bank has earned a reputation for taking a more aggressive stance than its peers both in terms of facing up to losses on its books and in terms of calling in bad loans and chasing debtors.

Two years ago, the High Court ordered TD Mick Wallace to repay €19.5m after the bank moved against him, while a number of other lenders were happy to roll over debts of the controversial developer-turned-TD's construction company.

The company remains a major player in the agriculture scene through the Rabobank brand.

Irish Independent

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