Anglo Irish Bank Cuts Losses With Asset Sales

Bank considering sale of wealth management business

Anglo Irish Bank Corp., responsible for a large measure of Ireland’s financial woes, reported Friday that losses in the first half of the year were down thanks to asset sales. Paring its record loss in the first six months of 2011 down to 105 million euros ($151.7 million) from 8.2 billion euros—the worst in Irish corporate history—in the same period of 2010, the bank has been winding down its business, planning to shut down altogether by 2020. It is now evaluating potential sales of its wealth management business.

Bloomberg reported that the bank is surviving on central bank funding for liquidity, since it is shut out of lending markets. It has managed to reduce its reliance on that funding from 45 billion euros in December to 40.8 billion euros at the end of June.

The Irish Independent reported that the bank still has 900 million euros in losses on its books, down from the 4.7 billion it held last year, since the National Asset Management Agency, the state-owned bad bank, took over much of its lending. Sales of its U.S. loan book are progressing and are expected to be finalized over the next few months, with the U.K. commercial loan book to be wound down over the next five years.

A number of banks, said Bloomberg, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, have made final bids on segments of its $9.65 billion U.S. real estate loan book, with an eye toward acquiring some of the $4.52 billion in performing loans being sold off. Investor groups, led by Lone Star Funds, as well as Blackstone Group LP working with Deutsche Bank AG, are also making offers for portions of the portfolio.

In addition, the bank is entertaining “a number of non- binding indicative proposals from potential purchasers” of its wealth management unit.

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