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Back from the dead, AIG is profitable again

AIG, the US insurance giant, reported a third quarter profit of $455 million as some of its previously profitable units start to benefit from the improved business climate. Not much of the news, maybe. But exactly a year ago, AIG lost $24.47 billion in the third quarter, sparking fears that the bottom may truly fall out of the global economy and prompting the Bush government to intervene with a $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Programme) bailout. And if you think the third quarter was bad, the fourth quarter saw losses of $61.7 billion, the record in US corporate history. AIG received a total of $180 billion of the US taxpayers’ money to cover its losses and for that favour it had to fork out 79.9% of its stock, making it a de facto state-owned enterprise. Read more: Washington Post

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