AIG: the biggest quarterly loss in corporate history

A massive $61.7 billion loss for AIG – that is the quarterly loss for the insurance giant, a record for the world. That comes to a loss of $465 every minute of every day in that quarter. The full-year loss comes in over $100 billion.

Nevertheless, the U.S. Government sees AIG as a systemically-important company due to its involvement in the Credit Default Swaps market. Therefore, it has decided to up the ante and continue providing this company with tens of billions more in liquidity.

As I have indicated in a previous post, bailouts are the worst of all potential policy responses. These are large sums that I believe the American people will not support. Either Americans are an incredibly docile lot or we are about to see a sea change in taxpayers’ attitude.

Read below for the details of the losses and bailout.

American International Group Inc posted a $61.7 billion fourth-quarter loss — the biggest quarterly loss in corporate history — after reaching a revised rescue deal with the U.S. government that wards off for now the prospect of crippling credit rating downgrades.

The massive quarterly loss, equal to $22.95 a share, was AIG’s fifth in a row, bringing the total loss over that period to more than $100 billion.

The U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve said AIG had posed a systemic risk requiring government action to prevent its problems from damaging the entire financial system.

AIG, the recipient of $150 billion in taxpayer aid last year, will get access to an additional $30 billion under the government’s revised plan announced on Monday.

It also got more lenient terms on existing financing and will be able to significantly pay down an outstanding credit facility in a swap that will give the government a preferred-share stake in two life insurance businesses.

AIG also announced plans to spin off part of its property-casualty business, to be renamed AIU Holdings.

The revamped rescue package is the third since last fall when the government stepped in to bail out AIG, once the world’s biggest insurer by market value.

The Treasury and the Fed said that AIG, which has counterparties around the globe, was so important to the U.S. economy and financial system that it had to be helped, and they held out the possibility more aid might be needed.

“This will take time and possibly further government support if markets do not stabilize and improve,” they said in a statement.

Source AIG enters record books with $61.7 billion loss – Reuters

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2 Responses to "AIG: the biggest quarterly loss in corporate history"

  1. Frank Bergeron   March 2, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    I can’t even fathom how any company could amass such a huge pile of business. Someone should have whispered: small is beautiful.

  2. Guest   March 3, 2009 at 6:00 am

    Sorry to nitpick, but you’re missing the three zeroes after $465.