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The Independent Online
The Bank of England stands to gain nearly pounds 1bn a year by joining the single European currency. In contrast, the Bundesbank, Europe's most profitable central bank, could lose out by more than pounds 1.5bn. France's central bank has most to gain by ditching the franc for the euro, which could make it pounds 2.2bn better off, according to research by Central Banking, a quarterly journal. The research is based on the assumption that all 15 countries join the single currency in 1999.

It also assumes that the profits of the European Central Bank, due to be formed in 1999, will be shared among member states according to their population and contribution to the GDP of the European Union. Based on those assumptions the Bank of England would "own" just over 15 per cent of the European Central Bank, which would have made pounds 15.4bn of profit last year, calculated by adding together the profits of the individual central banks.