Allied Irish Banks posts first annual profit since 2008

DUBLIN:  Ireland’s state-rescued Allied Irish Banks posted its first annual profit since 2008 on Thursday as income jumped and an improving Irish economy allowed for the reversal of write-downs.

Net profits, or earnings after taxation, were 915 million euros ($1.010 billion) last year. That compared with a loss of 1.59 billion euros in 2013, AIB said in a results statement.

Pre-tax profits stood at 1.1 billion euros compared to a loss of 1.66 billion in 2013.

“Over a three year period we have delivered a circa 4.8 billion euros turnaround in the group’s profit before tax,” outgoing chief executive David Duffy said.

Operating income was up 31 percent to 2.53 billion euros from 1.924 billion euros the year before.

An improving Irish economy and rising house prices allowed it to write-back 188 million euros in bad loans compared to a provision of 1.9 billion euros in 2013.

The lender’s total impaired loans reduced by 6.7 billion euros or 23 percent during 2014 to 22.2 billion euros.

“2014 was a milestone year for the bank. We achieved significantly improved financial results, and a material de-risking of the balance sheet,” Duffy added.

AIB follows Bank of Ireland back into the black, after its rival posted a full-year net profit of 786 million euros for 2014 last week.