Dutch bank ING posts 3.7-bln-euro loss
A 10 billion euro government injection fails to preclude losses at ING.
THE HAGUE— Dutch bank and insurance group ING Wednesday reported a 3.7-billion-euro (4.7-billion-dollar) fourth quarter net loss just months after receiving 10 billion euros from the state to help weather the global economic crisis.
This represented a 249 percent loss on the 2.5-billion-euro net profit posted in the same quarter of 2007, the company said in a statement.
"The financial crisis has had an unprecedented impact on our industry and the magnitude of the crisis has left few companies untouched," board chairman Jan Hommen said in a statement.
"ING had started the year focused on growth, and we were overtaken by the pace and severity of the downturn in the fourth quarter that eroded our earnings and our equity."
For the year as a whole, ING reported a 729-million-euro loss, down 108 percent from a 9.2-billion profit in 2007.
ING is one of the world's top 20 banks by market capitalisation with 85 million clients and some 130,000 employees.
In October last year, it received a 10-billion-euro cash injection from the Dutch state but announced in January it would shed 7,000 jobs globally this year as part of a plan to generate savings of one billion euros in 2009 and 1.1 billion euros annually thereafter.
"As we enter what may be another tumultuous year our key capital ratios are within the new market norms, but we will remain vigilant in managing our capital and risks in the current environment," said Hommen.
"Our top priorities this year are to further reduce asset exposures and rationalise the cost base. We aim to shrink the balance sheet of ING Bank by 10 percent compared with the end of September, while continuing to lend to key customers in our home markets. And we are reallocating investments towards less risky assets."
Hommen said the company would review its portfolio of businesses in the coming months.
"We must reduce the complexity of the group by focusing on fewer businesses and markets.
"In order to truly drive operational excellence, we must simplify governance, reinforce accountability, and make the organisation more responsive to our customers' needs."