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Struggling lender attracts interest

Co-op slips to loss and writes off bank stake to nil


Co-operative Group has slumped to its first loss since 2013 and written off the value of its stake in the troubled Co-operative bank.

Uncertainty over the value of the bank led the group to value its 20% stake in the lender at nil. It last valued it at £140 million in September.

The write-off meant the group recorded a pretax statutory loss for 2016 of £132m against a £23m profit in the previous year.

Operating profit rose by 32% on growth in its core supermarkets, funeral care, and insurance businesses.

The Co-op Bank, which has four million customers, almost collapsed four years ago after the discovery of a £1.5 billion black hole in its accounts. It was rescued by a group of US bondholders but after struggling to turn itself around it put itself up for sale in February.

The sales process has drawn interest from a number of potential bidders, thought to include Scotland-based Virgin Money and Clydesdale Bank.

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