CREDIT Agricole, France’s largest retail bank, has confirmed the greatest losses of its history - €6.5billion in 2012.
The figure is even higher than was predicted, though losses of around €6 billion have been expected since the start of the month.
Crédit Agricole says it is embarking on measures that will make savings of €650million over three years and it will present a strategic plan in the autumn.
Last year was marked by a series of large expenses for the bank, including €3.98 billion of exceptional charges (debits) in the fourth quarter (as opposed to the €3.8bn forecast), linked to lowering in value of acquisitions made before the economic crisis, including operations in Portugal and Italy and its sale at a loss of Greek bank Emporiki.
The losses relate to Crédit Agricole SA, the bank as listed nationally on the stock-exchange, which also recorded losses in 2011, of €1.47billion. However, in 2011 the Crédit Agricole group as a whole, including all activities of its regional branches, showed a profit while this year it made overall losses of €3.8billion.
There will be no shareholder dividends.
The bank says the losses do not affect its financial solidity because of its substantial assets.