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Danes pledge to keep Irish banks

THE CHIEF OF National Irish Bank owner Danske Bank has reaffirmed that the bank has no plans to dispose of its Irish banking interests.

Danske, which owns National Irish Bank in the Republic and Northern Bank in the North, yesterday announced that its chairman, Eivind Kolding, is to take over as the group's new chief executive in February and is to be succeeded as chairman by Danske board member Ole Andersen.

Mr Andersen said the company has a strategy in place to return the bank to profitability.

Mr Andersen said the strategy did not include a sale of the bank's troubled Irish units, which have experienced high loan losses that have dented recent group results.

National Irish Bank last month posted a loss of some €600m for the first nine months of this year.