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RBS to unveil up to $37 bn of losses: Report

Royal Bank of Scotland will unveil up to $37.30 billion of losses for 2008 on Monday.

Written by Reuters | London | Published: January 19, 2009 10:57:33 am

Royal Bank of Scotland will unveil up to 25 billion pounds ($37.30 billion) of losses for 2008 on Monday due to bad debts and writing off goodwill on its acquisition of ABN AMRO,a British newspaper said on Monday.

RBS will say it incurred about 7 billion pounds of losses in 2008 and that it is taking a goodwill writedown of between 15 billion and 20 billion pounds,’The Daily Telegraph’ reported,calling it the “biggest loss in UK history.”

RBS declined to comment on the report.

Britain is set to throw its banks another multi-billion pound lifeline on Monday by allowing them to insure against steep losses and guaranteeing their debt to stop the credit crunch pushing the economy into a deep slump.

The British government will swap up to 5 billion pounds of preference shares in Royal Bank of Scotland for ordinary shares,increasing its stake in the British bank,a person familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

The move aims to remove pressure on RBS — whose shares fell 13 per cent on Friday — to pay 12 per cent annual interest on the preference shares.

The government owns 58 per cent of RBS after buying 15 billion pounds of ordinary shares last November. The stake could rise to near 70 per cent if all the preference shares are converted. RBS again declined to comment.

RBS,once Britain’s second-biggest bank,was left short of capital as a result of hefty write-offs against debt-backed securities. The 2007 acquisition of parts of Dutch rival ABN AMRO put further strain on its capital reserves.

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