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Citigroup losses reach $8 billion

Citigroup's credit losses passed the $8 billion mark despite the bank reporting a net profit of more than $100 million for the third quarter of 2009.

The profits were swallowed up by special dividends required as part of the $45 billion US government bailout of the bank, meaning that shareholders saw their investments lose 27 cents per share.

But the credit loss was not as big as had been feared - analysts had predicted that losses would reach around 38 cents per share.

Citigroup, which is now 34 per cent owned by the government, is attempting to cut costs in a bid to repay the taxpayer-funded investment.

Vikram Pandit, chief executive of the firm, said the results showed Citigroup was heading in the right direction.

"We continue to execute steadily against our plan and sustainable profitability remains our primary goal in the near term," he said.

Last week, media reports suggested that Citigroup was one of several Wall Street firms that are planning to restart recruitment of staff.

By Gary Cooper