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09.03.2012, 11:44 BBC News.co.uk

ABN Amro hit by 880m-euro Greek loss

ABN Amro hit by 880m-euro Greek loss

The Dutch bank ABN Amro has said its underlying net profit for 2011 was hit by bad debt charges, including 880m euros (£763m, $1.16bn) for Greece.

Underlying profits for the year, which strip out the cost of integration and separation of businesses, were 960m euros, compared with 1.1bn euros profit for 2010.

The bank was bought by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2007 for 71bn euros.

It was later demerged and nationalised by the Dutch government in 2008.

Using a more standard measure of profit, the bank made 689m euros in 2011, compared with a loss of 414m euros.

The losses incurred by its exposure to Greece were in the form of corporate loans guaranteed by the Greek government and not direct loans to the government in Athens itself.

The bank said that the slumping Dutch economy - which is currently in recession - had also hurt its profits, referring in its statement to a "rapidly deteriorating macro-economic environment".

It said: "Substantially higher loan impairments eroded the second-half profit completely. More than 80% of the full-year loan impairments were accounted for in the second half of 2011."

After nationalisation, the Dutch government split the bank into two divisions and appointed former Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm as chairman.

Mr Zalm said the full-year figure was not as good as he had hoped: "The bank delivered a disappointing result for the full year, with underlying... significant loan impairments on Greek government-guaranteed corporate exposures together with a provision for further restructurings and staff reductions, depressed profitability in 2011."

He went on to say that the bank was making good progress in other areas, particularly on reshaping the business, a process it said was now almost complete.

The Dutch government would like to return the bank to private hands by 2014.

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