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German central bank reports 4.6-bn-euro profit in 2013

The German central bank or Bundesbank clocked up profit of 4.6 billion euros ($6.4 billion) in 2013, all of which would be transferred to government coffers, it said on Thursday. "The Deutsche Bundesbank posted profit to 4.6 billion euros in 2013 after 664 million euros a year earlier, which, according to Bundesbank law, was transferred in full to the federal government," the central bank said in a statement.

Unicredit posts 14 bn euro loss for 2013

Italy's largest bank Unicredit said Tuesday it had suffered a staggering 14 billion euro ($19.4 billion) loss last year as it wrote down the value of assets and increased its loan loss provisions. The bank also unveiled a strategic plan that targets generating over 6 billion euros in annual net profits in four years. The loss was essentially due to writing down the value of assets by 9.3 billion euros and increasing reserves to cover at risk loans by 7.2 billion euros in the final quarter of last year. It also took a restructuring charge of 699 million euros.

Unicredit posts 14 bn euro loss for 2013

Italy's largest bank Unicredit said Tuesday it had suffered a staggering 14 billion euro ($19.4 billion) loss last year as it wrote down the value of assets and increased its loan loss provisions. The bank also unveiled a strategic plan that targets generating over 6 billion euros in annual net profits in four years. The loss was essentially due to writing down the value of assets by 9.3 billion euros and increasing reserves to cover at risk loans by 7.2 billion euros in the final quarter of last year. It also took a restructuring charge of 699 million euros.

EU offers Ukraine trade breaks worth 500 mn euros/year

The EU will offer Ukraine trade breaks equivalent to 500 million euros a year as an immediate gesture of support, European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said Tuesday. The Commission has "agreed a set of unilateral trade provisions ... equal to about 500 million euros per year," Barroso said, adding this was "a concrete, tangible" measure of support for Ukraine. bmm/jap/lc

Legal ivory auction breaks French price records

A French auction of legal ivory broke records on Saturday, with prices reaching up to 1,000 euros a kilogramme ($630 a pound), according to Alexander Debussy, associate director of auction house Cannes Encheres. All of the lots were acquired before 1976 -- the only type of ivory that can be legally sold since a global ban on the trade in 1989. The top lot -- two tusks weighing 120 kilogrammes (265 pounds) from an elephant that was "shot in 1966 by an Italian fighter in Kenya" -- went to a wealthy Qatari for 125,000 euros, the auction house said.

Legal ivory auction breaks French price records

A French auction of legal ivory broke records on Saturday, with prices reaching up to 1,000 euros a kilogramme ($630 a pound), according to Alexander Debussy, associate director of auction house Cannes Encheres. All of the lots were acquired before 1976 -- the only type of ivory that can be legally sold since a global ban on the trade in 1989. The top lot -- two tusks weighing 120 kilogrammes (265 pounds) from an elephant that was "shot in 1966 by an Italian fighter in Kenya" -- went to a wealthy Qatari for 125,000 euros, the auction house said.

Banks to return 11.4 billion euro of crisis loans to ECB next week

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Banks will return 11.401 billion euros ($15.78 billion) in crisis loans to the European Central Bank next week, more than six times than the amount that was expected, accelerating the drain of extra cash out of the euro zone financial system. The amount banks will repay on March 12 beat this week's repayments of 3.012 billion euros and is more than the 2.1 billion forecast in a Reuters poll. <ECB/REFI>

Greece's top banks need $8.9 billion euros in extra capital: central bank

By George Georgiopoulos ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's major banks must raise an extra 6.4 billion euros ($8.9 billion) in capital to make themselves strong enough to deal with the fallout from future crises, the central bank said on Thursday. A health check was run to see whether last summer's 28-billion-euro recapitalization of the four top banks had left them with enough cash to withstand rising loan losses, a further economic slump and other potential shocks.

Bouygues plans French phone giant with 14.5 bn euro bid for SFR

Bouygues Telecom Thursday made a 14.5 billion euro ($19.9 billion) offer for Vivendi's SFR unit in a deal that could create a new French telecoms powerhouse amid a wave of consolidation in the sector. Bouygues Telecom said its offer, which includes 10.5 billion euros in cash and 46 percent in new capital, would involve no forced redundancies and would "revitalise" employment in France's telecoms sector.

European Commission says offering 11 bn euros to Ukraine

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso announced Wednesday a massive aid package to Ukraine of "at least 11 billion euros" as the West stepped up plans to help the new government. "It is a package designed to assist a committed, inclusive and reforms-oriented Ukrainian government," said Barroso on the eve of an EU crisis summit on events in Ukraine. "The package combined could bring an overall support of at least 11 billion euros ($15 billion) over the next couple of years," the head of the EU executive told a news conference.
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