Bank's Profits Drop 99 Percent As Slump Bites

Alliance & Leicester today reported a 99 per cent plunge in half-year profits after huge losses at its investment arm due to the credit crunch.

The bank, which is set to be bought for £1.3 billion by Spanish giant Santander, said that the pre-tax profits for the six months with June 30 were £2 million, compared to £290 million in the same period last year.

A &L said its treasury division made an operating loss of £272 million after the value of a range of complex investments plummeted due to the turmoil in the financial markets.

Chief executive David Bennett said that with worsening economic conditions threatening to impact further on the bank's value a takeover by Santander was the best option for the business.

"The proposal from Santander provides both greater stability and greater certainty in uncertain times," he said.