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RBS to repay last of government aid, reinstate dividends


Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Britain’s biggest publicly assisted lender, will pay back the last of its emergency aid from the UK taxpayer, bringing the company a step closer to moving out of government ownership.

Operating profit rose four per cent in the first quarter to £1.18 billion ($1.91 billion) from £1.13 billion a year earlier, the Edinburgh-based bank said in a statement today. Analysts predicted a profit of £917 million, according to the median estimate of six surveyed by Bloomberg.

The repayment of the £164 billion of emergency funding it received from the UK and the US governments by the end of next month removes an obstacle to the lender’s return to private ownership. That won’t happen immediately because the bank’s shares are still trading at less than half the level at which the government bought its 82 per cent stake for about £45.5 billion.

First Published: Sat, May 05 2012. 01:48 IST