The Co-operative Group has sold off its final 1% stake in the Co-op Bank, meaning it no longer has any investment in the business.
The news was included in the Group’s interim results, which also revealed that the company’s profits had dropped as a result of a poor performance by its Insurance arm.
The Co-op Group encompasses five businesses: Co-op Food, Co-op Insurance, Co-op Electrical, Co-op Legal Services and Co-op Funeralcare.
The Co-op Bank was previously also entirely owned by the Group, but was spun off after a black hole in the lender’s balance sheet forced it to seek outside investment.
Video: June 2017: Co-op boss explains bank stake write-off
The bank again put itself up for sale in February of this year amid concerns it did not hold enough capital to survive another financial crisis.
It agreed a £700m rescue deal with US hedge fund investors in June that allowed it to continue as a standalone business, but saw the parent group’s stake reduced from 20% to just 1%.
No details were provided regarding who has acquired the remaining shares in the bank, but the Co-op Group raised around £5m from the sale.
Image: The Group’s food business reported its 14th consecutive quarter of sales growth
Elsewhere in the report the Co-operative Group revealed that its underlying profit before tax had plummeted by 48% in the first half of the year, mostly due to a £12m drop in profits in the Group’s Insurance business.
When one-off items such as the sale of the Co-op Bank shares are taken into account the profit before tax rose by 47% compared to the same period last year.
The Co-op also noted that revenues in its funeral care business had risen, mostly driven by the increased popularity of its low-cost ‘Simple Funeral’ offer.
The ‘Simple’ option affords families a no-frills experience and includes transport and care of the deceased as well as arrangements for a burial service, but does not cover embalming of the body or allow the family to choose the time or date of the funeral.
The Group’s food arm reported sales of £3.47bn, broadly in line with the first half of 2016, with like-for-like sales rising by 3.5%.