Danske Bank cuts losses on loans by half

DENMARK’S Danske Bank swung to a pre-tax profit last quarter after almost halving loan losses.

The owner of National Irish Bank and Northern Bank posted a pre-tax profit of DK937m (£104.5m) for the second quarter, after a DK828m net loss a year earlier.

“Difficult, albeit gradually improving, macroeconomic conditions in several of the group’s markets continued to have an adverse effect on results,” said the firm in a statement.

Loan impairment charges totalled DK3.48bn in the last three months, 47 per cent lower than the same time last year and the sixth consecutive drop in as many quarters.

“Generally, things are moving in the right direction,” said the firm. “In view of the macroeconomic development, we look at the rest of 2010 with cautious optimism.”

The bank’s tier one capital ratio fell slightly in the quarter to 13.7 per cent, but is still one of the highest in the Eurozone.

Standard & Poor’s analyst Frank Braden said: “Despite the better-than-expected improvement in loan losses, a large jump in loan impairment charges in Ireland and Northern Ireland highlights the still challenging operating environment.”