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Online bank egg saw losses grow last year as it rid itself of its French business. Group loss before tax was £107m, up from £34m in 2003.

The cost of getting out of France was £113m. The firm also suffered from uncertainty of ownership - parent company Prudential was threatening to sell its majority stake.

In the UK things were better. For the year ended 31 December 2004, egg made an operating profit of £74m, up from £73m last year.

The bank blamed increased competition in the credit card and personal loan market in the first half of the year.

Things improved in the second half and egg claimed an operating profit of £20m in the last quarter, up from £16m in 2003.

Lending balances grew well giving egg six per cent of the credit card market. Egg will broaden the services it offers over the course of the year.

Press release on the egg website here. ®

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