Monday 11 December 2017

Rabo gives ACC €255m bailout to cope with Irish debt

Annual results reveal €217m net losses for ACC last year

Donal O'Donovan

ACC Bank needed a €255m bailout from its Dutch parent last year to cope with Irish bad debts, according to annual results for the year to the end of December.

It's the third year in a row that Netherlands-based Rabo- bank has had to pump money into its wholly-owned Irish subsidiary. The latest bailout brings the cost of the rescue to date to €805m.

ACC's net loss in 2010 was €217m, down from €394m in 2009.

Branch closures in 2009 and 2010, as well as the bank's aggressive stance on its property loans portfolio, have led to speculation that the bank, and parent Rabobank, are considering exiting the Irish business.

However, a spokeswoman for ACC last night said the bank had no plan to leave the Irish market. Meanwhile, Rabobank has recently become the new sponsor of the former Celtic League rugby competition.

The value of its loan book declined by more than 10pc last year, from €550m to €490m.

The bank has a reputation for dealing aggressively with troubled property developers.

It has also been more willing than domestically-owned banks to write down the current value it placed on boom-era debts, and has moved to sell assets even in a depressed market.

The bank appointed a receiver to some property assets owned by businessman and politician Mick Wallace earlier this year, when three other banks opted to allow him more time to work through debts owed by his businesses.

In contrast, the bank has taken a less firm line with farmers, engaging in talks with the Irish Farmers Association in an effort to deal with farmers' debts.

In its home market Rabobank is most associated with the agri foods sector and was founded by farmers' co-operatives.

Last year, ACC's income fell by more than a quarter, from €216m to just over €150m. Income had fallen 23pc the previous year.

In a statement, ACC said the cost of running the business had been cut from €112m in 2009 to €90m.

Irish Independent

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