No profit in 2015 or 2016 says the Co-operative Bank

<p>The company has reported pre-tax losses for the first six months of the year.</p>

The Co-operative Bank has said it won't make a profit in 2015 or 2016.

The announcement follows the release of figures for the first half of the year, which show pre-tax losses of £204.2 million for the period. That's compared to £77 million in losses for the year earlier.

Despite the high loss figure, the bank says the results were slightly better than expected and that the company is now in a better position to withstand economic stresses.

In 2013, the bank almost collapsed after a £1.5 billion "black hole" was discovered in its accounts, reports the BBC. That year, the firm saw the biggest loss in its 150-year history – £2.3 billion.

Outside investors were called in to prop up the bank and 80 per cent of the company is now owned by hedge funds. The Co-op Group holds the remaining 20 per cent.

Commenting on the possibility of floating shares of the Co-op Bank on the stock market, chief executive Niall Booker said such a move was unlikely until the business was closer to turning a profit – something he doesn't expect to happen in the near future.

"We won't be profitable in 2015 and we won't be profitable in 2016," he said.

A series of difficulties

Recently, the Co-operative bank has suffered a series of difficulties.

Earlier this year, the bank set aside £49 million to cover misconduct and legal charges. The company lost £38.2 million on the sales of assets needed to reduce overall levels of debt and spent £33.1 million on improving "systems and processes".

The bank has received criticism for misleading investors. However, the regulator did not issue a fine, saying the company needed all the money it has to strengthen its balance sheet.

Last year, the bank failed a Bank of England stress test and a number of top executives have left the bank over the last five years – including former chairman Paul Flowers. He left the firm following a drugs scandal.

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