The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) on Thursday reported a net loss of 24.1 billion pounds ($34 billion) in 2008, the largest annual shortfall ever recorded by a British company.

RBS, which is nearly 70 percent owned by the British state after a massive bailout, said it would sell off a large part of its assets, withdraw or reduce operations in 36 countries and refocus its activities on the domestic market.

The bank said the state had agreed to insure RBS "toxic" assets worth 325 billion pounds ($463.7 billion) and would cover 90 percent of losses stemming from such holdings.

The bank said the record deficit reflected a 16.2 billion pound ($23.1 billion) write down against acquisitions, including its takeover of parts of Dutch rival ABN Amro in 2007, plus a further 7.9 billion pounds ($11.2 billion) in operating losses.

RBS also announced plans to raise a further 13 billion pounds ($18.5 billion) from the government through the issuance of B shares, and unveiled a cost-cutting program aimed at reducing expenses by 2.5 billion pounds ($3.6 billion).