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Co-op Group posts first annual loss since 2013

The Co-operative Group rote off the value of its stake in the Co-operative Bank Credit: PA

The Co-operative Group has fallen into the red for the first time since 2013 after writing off the value of its stake in the troubled Co-operative Bank.

The mutual revealed pre-tax losses of £132 million for 2016 as it took a £185 million hit after slashing the value of its 20% holding in the Co-operative Bank to zero.

The Co-operative Bank has been put up for sale amid concerns over its balance sheet strength as it continues to suffer following its 2013 rescue after the discovery of a £1.5 billion black hole in its finances, which left it majority controlled by US hedge funds.

The group posted profits of £23 million in 2015.

It said the move to write off its stake in the Co-op Bank was a "prudent valuation" amid "volatility" caused by the ongoing sale process.

We've made great progress in rebuilding our Co-op, with all our businesses delivering strong performances.

While much remains to be done, our rebuild plans have really started to deliver value for our customers, our members and their communities.

– Steve Murrells, group chief executive of the Co-op

The group gave a cautious outlook for the year ahead, warning: "All of our markets remain fiercely competitive and we face a challenging consumer and economic backdrop."


Lloyds Bank to close further 100 branches

Lloyds Bank is facing fresh anger over the closure of a further 100 branches, resulting in more than 200 job losses.

Unite said the "continuous stream" of branch closures by the UK's retail banks appeared to show no signs of ending.

The union said the announcement will affect 54 Lloyds branches, 22 Halifax branches and 24 Bank of Scotland branches.

Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer, said: "The loss of a further 100 local banks will be painful for high streets across the country to absorb.

"Unite is angered that another 200 staff have today been told that their job will be cut due to their branch shutting.

"Lloyds Banking Group's rationale for branch closures is the claimed customer preference towards the use of technology across banking."

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