Huge Corporate Failures

ByNabeel Zafar

Works in the private sector


October 2, 2022

Huge Corporate Failures

Nabeel Zafar describes it as a spate of
worrying scenarios

There is hardly any doubt that the corporate world largely underpins economic growth the world over and is currently considered an inevitable part of public welfare. Like any other human activity, the corporate sector is likely to err and reverberations of any such error are felt far and wide. Certain errors committed by the corporate sector resulted in bringing in global recession in 2008 including large-scale corporate failures. In the first quarter of 2020, the leading wealth-generating entity Wall Street took a beating as the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll and several industries faced an economic crisis. It is instructive to look at some of the largest corporate losses that affected the lives of millions.

Anglo-Irish Bank – $25 billion in 2010

The Anglo-Irish Bank was another victim of the debt crisis that rolled through Europe after the Great Recession and corporate failures. The bank reported a $25 billion loss in 2010 as Ireland faced bankruptcy and the European Union bailed it out. In 2009, Ireland nationalized the bank to deal with the Great Recession and by 2010 it accounted for a third of the nation’s debt.

Bankia – $25.2 billion in 2012

As the European debt crisis spread out from Greece and across the continent and Corporate Failures, Spain’s Bankia faced massive troubles in 2012, losing €19.2 billion ($25.2 billion), despite receiving a $15 billion bailout from the European Union and being nationalized as a result of the crisis. The bank’s disgraced former president, Rodrigo Rato was later found guilty of embezzlement.

Vivendi Universal – $25.5 billion in 2002

Early in the century, French media conglomerate Vivendi Universal posted the biggest corporate losses in French history for two years in a row, $25.5 billion in 2002. The conglomerate, which included Universal Music Group, wrote down huge losses due to the poor sales of compact discs as more and more people turned to digital piracy for their music.

Deutsche Telekom – $27.1 billion in 2002

The telecom crash that followed the bursting of the dot-com bubble caused damage to a number of big European telecommunication giants, including Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, which posted a massive $27.1 billion loss in 2002. At the time, some observers said it was the biggest loss for a German company since the Second World War.

Citigroup – $27.68 billion in 2008

Citigroup, like a lot of investment banks, saw its safe mortgage investments go down the drain in 2008 as Wall Street faced its biggest challenge since the Great Depression. Citigroup, the third-largest bank in the United States and a major player in the mortgage market, posted a deficit of $27.68 billion that year performing worse than all of their investment bank competitors, with the exception of AIG.

Royal Bank of Scotland – $34.2 billion in 2008

In 2008, the Royal Bank of Scotland posted a massive loss of $34.2 billion. Feeling the effects of the financial crisis, Scotland’s national bank suffered the largest annual corporate loss in UK history and faced even more controversy when it was revealed that its former chief executive was drawing an annual pension of £650,000 ($925,000), despite what many saw as his ineptitude in the role.

Qwest Communications – $35.9 billion in 2002

When the dotcom bubble burst, telecommunication firms like Qwest massively hemorrhaged revenues. In 2001, Qwest Communications was facing bankruptcy and saved itself at the last minute by selling QwestDex, the directory service that publishes the Yellow Pages, for $7 billion but still posted a loss of $35.9 billion for the year. The Weekender 


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