Belfast Telegraph

Nationalised Northern Rock reports reduced losses

By Jamie Grierson

Nationalised lender Northern Rock said it expects to make a profit during next year after reporting reduced half-year losses.

The bank has also confirmed it had received indicative offers from interested parties since Chancellor George Osborne announced in June his decision to put Northern Rock up for sale.

The lender reported underlying losses of £78.8m in the six months to June, compared with losses of £140m the previous year.

Northern Rock was nationalised in February 2008 after it collapsed amid the credit crisis, sparking the first run on a UK bank for 150 years.

Looking ahead, the company expects to be loss-making for the full year but with a "significantly improved position" compared with last year.

Ron Sandler, Northern Rock's government-appointed chairman, said: "The trading environment remains challenging and there is strong competition in the savings and mortgage markets."

He added: "The company expects to be trading profitably during the second half of 2012."

Northern Rock plc is being sold by UKFI, which was set up to manage the State's holding in banks bailed out during the crisis, such as Lloyds and RBS.

Virgin Money, Sir Richard Branson's banking business, and JC Flowers, the US private equity investor, are understood to have tabled first-round bids for the bank last week.