Financial News

  • 5 September 2014, 10:10

Co-op Group Back In Black After Bank Turmoil

The troubled Co-operative Group has confirmed a return to half-year profit after distancing itself from big bank losses.

The supermarkets-to-funerals group, which gave up control of the Co-op Bank after posting a £2.5bn loss last year, made a statutory profit of £12m compared to a loss of £767m in the same period 12 months ago.

Richard Pennycook, the interim chief executive who was confirmed in the position on Thursday, said the wider overhaul to bring a more plc-style structure to its governance allowed it to "look to the future with greater confidence".

He took over when Euan Sutherland walked out earlier this year claiming the group was ungovernable.

In addition to the governance changes agreed since that time, the group has also disposed of its Pharmacy, Farms and Sunwin Services businesses - decisions which helped drive its return to profit.

Mr Pennycook said: "I am delighted to have the chance to lead the Co-operative Group through the crucial job of rebuilding the business.

"We have taken major steps forward over the last six months, securing governance reform and repairing our balance sheet, but we have much to do to return the group to full financial health and improve the performance of our businesses".

Underlying profits - a better measure of the day-to-day business' performance, fell to £66m - down from £116m.

Mr Pennycook admitted that result showed the scale of work necessary.

He added: "Underlying profitability in the business has been curtailed by the deliberate actions we are taking to implement our detailed rebuild plan and to face into the tough trading conditions prevailing in the markets in which we operate".

Only the Co-op's food and funerals businesses returned a profit in the six month period.

It retains a 20% interest in the Co-op Bank, which last month reported an improved £75.8m loss for the same half year.

 

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