Saturday 16 December 2017

Anglo reduces losses by billions

Ed Carty

Ireland's rogue lender Anglo Irish Bank has dramatically reduced losses to just over €100m down from the record-breaking figures it suffered last year.

Business at the state-owned bank in the first half of the year was hit by losses of €101m compared to €8.2bn in 2010 - the worst in Irish corporate history.

Mike Aynsley, Anglo group chief executive, said Ireland remains its worst-affected market.

"The work completed by those in the bank, in conjunction with the authorities, since nationalisation has paved the way for an orderly and effective work out in the best interests of the Irish taxpayer," he said.

"This reflects a major shift in focus for the organisation from being a high octane lender to an effective asset manager of portfolio sales and redemptions. This will remain our priority."

Anglo is facing €900m losses on its loan book - a massive reduction from the €4.7bn announced last year as the state-owned bad bank, the National Asset Management Agency, took control of large swathes of its lending.

The bank, which is being rebranded as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited, said Ireland accounts for 82pc of the overall losses on loans reflecting the difficult economic environment, further declines in property values, lack of liquidity and high levels of unemployment.

Irish citizens are paying a near €30bn bill for an orderly wind down of the bank.

Anglo announced plans last week to cut its workforce by another 350 as the nationalised lender aims to shut its doors for good by 2020.

In its six-monthly report, the bank said 210 staff have transferred to Allied Irish Banks, it still has 1,075 employees on the books and 130 are working in the bank's Nama unit.

Anglo has this year taken control of the bust building society Irish Nationwide.

Alan Dukes, the chairman and public interest appointee, said the bank continues to co-operate fully with ongoing fraud and corporate law investigations.

Director of corporate enforcement Paul Appleby warned in June that more than 10 individuals, including former Anglo executives, were not co-operating with his office's two-and-a-half-year probe to get to the bottom of the lender's role in bringing the Irish economy to its knees.

Just one completed file has been sent so far to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), on a particular loan given by Anglo to a former director.

Mr Appleby's office has been given until January for his complex corporate law investigation.

Mr Dukes confirmed a series of measures were being taken to complete the wind-down of the business over the next nine years.

The sale of the bank's US loan book is under way, which is expected to be finalised in the coming months, and plans are in place to wind down the UK commercial loan book over the next five years with any leftover loans sold off.

Anglo is aiming to close its Irish commercial division in 10 years, or earlier if the market allows it, and the residential loan book within five years.

Disposal of the bank's wealth management division is also planned, with alternatives currently being weighed up, the bank said.

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