Reporting the biggest annual loss in British corporate history at 27 billion euros, the Royal Bank of Scotland has become the first bank to sign up to the UK government’s asset protection plan.
The government, which has a direct stake in the bank after bailing it out, has now asked its former chief to forego his annual pension of 725,000 euros. In Germany, Allianz, Europe’s biggest insurer by market value, posted a fourth-quarter loss of 3.1 billion euros, citing heavy costs related to its recently sold banking unit Dresdner Bank. The company said market conditions remain tricky and that profit forecasts “are not possible in this environment”, but offered assurances that it remained viable. And in Paris, investment bank Natixis announced a net loss of 2.8 billion euros. The bank’s main shareholders, Caisse d’Epargne and Banque Populaire, are being pushed to merge by the government and may announce their alliance this week. That move could boost Natixis, which has reported three straight quarterly losses and whose shares have nose-dived 95 percent.