Belfast Telegraph

Allied Irish Banks chief upbeat as results show drop in losses

by ed carty

First Trust owner Allied Irish Banks has announced a return to pre-provision operating profit with losses before tax down €2bn (£1.6bn) to €1.7bn (£1.4bn) last year.

The bank's annual results for 2013 revealed a pre-provision operating profit of €445m (£366m), €769m (£633m) higher than in 2012.

It reported total operating income up 34% to €1.9bn (£1.6bn).

The bank, which is 99% owned by the Irish state, said it had seen a €2bn (£1.6bn) improvement in its underlying performance and the Irish Government has indicated it will open talks this year on converting its preference shareholding into equity.

AIB said its total impaired loans, together with past due but not impaired loans, fell by €1bn (£800m) over the course of last year.

AIB chief executive David Duffy said the results were continued evidence of the positive impact of the bank's revised strategy on operating performance.

"2013 was a year of steady progress at AIB as we implemented our strategic objectives which saw the bank return to pre-provision, pre-exceptional, operating profit for the year," he said.

"A number of important milestones have been reached and the fundamentals of AIB's performance are now trending more positively both from an operational and economic perspective."

Mr Duffy added: "We remain focused on sustainable growth and returning to profitability during 2014.

"Notwithstanding the ongoing challenges facing the bank, we are more optimistic for the outlook of both the bank and the Irish economy."

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