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Aug. 5, 2020, 2:58 a.m. EDT

Bank of Ireland swings to loss in first half

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By Sabela Ojea

Bank of Ireland Group PLC reported Wednesday a swing to a loss for the first half after taking an impairment charge of 937 million euros ($1.11 billion) due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Irish lender posted a pretax loss of EUR822 million for the first six months of 2019 compared with a profit of EUR315 million for the same period a year earlier.

The bank also swung to an underlying pretax loss--the company's preferred metric which strips out exceptional and other one-off items--of EUR669 million from a profit of EUR376 million.

Net interest income stood at EUR1.078 billion from EUR1.077 billion, it added.

The bank ended the period with a fully loaded common equity Tier 1 ratio--a key measure of balance-sheet strength--of 13.6%

"Our outlook is cautiously more optimistic than our quarter one trading update, resulting in revised guidance for the rest of 2020 in terms of new lending and business income," it said, adding that net interest income is expected to be around 5% lower in 2020 than in 2019.

Write to Sabela Ojea at sabela.ojea@wsj.com; @sabelaojeaguix

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