Rabobank's full-year profit dips 2 pct after Libor fine

AMSTERDAM Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:27am EST

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AMSTERDAM Feb 27 (Reuters) - Rabobank, the Dutch lender fined $1 billion last year for rigging benchmark interest rates, reported net profit down 2 percent to 2.012 billion euros ($2.75 billion) in 2013 but expects operating results to improve thanks to cost savings.

The only Dutch bank to survive the 2008 financial crisis without a state bailout, Rabobank had a tumultuous year. By far the biggest blow to its reputation among customers and the Dutch public was its role in the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) scandal.

The cooperatively owned bank paid 774 million euros to British, U.S. and Dutch regulators after 30 staff were found to have been involved in "inappropriate conduct" with regard to Libor and its Euribor cousin - interest rates used as benchmarks for more than $300 trillion of financial assets.

"Rabobank is entitled, under the applicable tax laws, to set off a very large portion of this amount for tax purposes, both in the Netherlands and abroad," the bank said in a statement. "The bank has voluntarily decided not to do so. The full amount will therefore be paid by Rabobank and not the taxpayer."

Rabobank said the impact of the Libor fine, together with higher impairments in the real estate business and provisions for cuts at the bank's local branches, was offset by the sale of its fund management business and pension changes. ($1 = 0.7317 euros) (Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by David Goodman)

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