Royal Bank of Scotland is to pay its first dividend since it was bailed out during the financial crisis a decade ago.
The bank will pay an interim dividend of 2p a share once its provisional $4.9bn settlement with the US Department of Justice is finalised, ending an investigation into sales of mortgage-backed products.
Marking a landmark moment, the dividend is worth £240m and means the Treasury will receive £149m, as RBS is still 62% owned by the UK government.
RBS reported an operating profit before tax of £1.8bn for the first half of this year, down from £1.95bn a year earlier. The figure was dragged down by a £801m litigation and conduct charge. The firm reported its first annual profit in a decade in February, £752m for 2017, following a £7bn loss in 2016.
Ross McEwan, the chief executive, said: “The turnaround of the bank is almost complete.”
Ewen Stevenson, the chief financial officer, described the dividend as “modest” but said payouts to shareholders would increase “materially from here”.
The resumption of dividend payments paves the way for further share sales. The government reduced its stake in the bank by almost 8% in June for £2.5bn but Philip Hammond, the chancellor, was forced to defend the move as the sale left taxpayers nursing a £2.1bn loss.
RBS shares rose 3% to 257.6p in early trading.
This article was written by Julia Kollewe, for theguardian.com on Friday 3rd August 2018 08.40 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010