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Rescued Irish bank AIB posts soaring annual losses

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

State-rescued Allied Irish Banks on Tuesday announced soaring annual net losses, despite massively scaling down its provisions for bad loans.

The bank's after-tax loss jumped to 3.6 billion euros ($4.6 billion) in 2012, compared with a shortfall of 2.3 billion euros in 2011, AIB said in a statement.

Allied Irish Banks, once one of Ireland's biggest banks, is almost fully state owned after receiving enormous taxpayer funds following Ireland's own financial rescue by the EU and IMF.

"While 2012 was another very challenging year for the group, a number of important steps were taken to position the bank for recovery over the longer term, AIB chief executive David Duffy said in the results statement.

"AIB has now largely completed the restructuring phase of its strategic plan as the bank targets a return to sustainable profitability and growth during 2014," he added.

The bank's operating loss before exceptional items was 2.8 billion euros in 2012, down from 8.1 billion euros in 2011 owing to a massive reduction in provisions for bad loans.

Written-off loans tumbled from 8.2 billion euros in 2011 to 2.5 billion euros last year.

The bank also reduced its reliance on European Central Bank funding by nine billion euros to 22 billion euros last year, a reduction of 29 percent.

AIB is one of two main "pillar" banks created in an overhaul of the Irish banking system, comprising Bank of Ireland and a merged AIB and the Educational Building Society (EBS).

The government has injected a total of 20.8 billion euros into AIB and its EBS subsidiary, taking a stake of more than 99.8 percent in the group.

Of the bank's 22 billion euros commercial property portfolio, approximately 62 percent of the loans were impaired at the end of last year.

AIB re-entered the public funding markets in 2012 for the first time since 2007, and successfully raised a further 500 million euros in a three bond in January this year.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130327/rescued-irish-bank-aib-posts-soaring-annual-losses-0