March 31, 2010 / 2:56 PM / 9 years ago

Anglo Irish Bank posts Ireland's biggest ever loss

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Nationalized Anglo Irish Bank posted a 12.7 billion euro ($17 billion) loss on Wednesday, the largest in Irish corporate history, as it got a second government cash injection and may need more.

The bank said it had booked impairment charges of 15.1 billion euros for the 15 months to December. Most were on assets amounting to half its loan book, which it is transferring to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), Ireland’s “bad bank.

The government, which had already pumped 4 billion euros of capital into the lender, on Wednesday injected another 8.3 billion via a promissory note and said Anglo could need another 10 billion euros to cover future losses.

Pending EU approval, the remainder of Anglo after the NAMA transfers will be split into two, with a much smaller but functioning lender to be sold off, floated on the stock exchange or merged into other lenders, and a bad bank of its own.

“In a limited way, we are open for business,” Chief Financial Officer Maarten van Eden told Reuters.

“We are not allowed to do any new lending at the moment, that’s a constraint imposed by the European Commission pending the approval of the restructuring plan.”

POLICE ARRESTS

Anglo, which carved out a niche in the property sector, was Nationalized in January 2009 after being weakened by the property market crash and a series of loan and deposit scandals that damaged investors’ perceptions of the entire economy.

Police arrested Sean FitzPatrick, the former chairman of the bank, earlier this month as part of a fraud investigation but later released him without charge after a day of questioning.

Police also arrested and later released a second man last week whom local media reported was William McAteer, the former finance director at the bank.

FitzPatrick, who was CEO at Anglo before becoming chairman, said in December 2008 he had kept shareholders in the dark for years about loans worth 85 million euros he had received from the bank.

The regulator has also been investigating whether Anglo Irish used more than 7 billion euros of short-term deposits from bancassurer Irish Life & Permanent IPM.I to mask large customer deposit withdrawals.

Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Erica Billingham

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