News Column

Lloyds shares tumble despite return to profit

February 14, 2014


LLOYDS declared a profit for 2013 yesterday, indicating the five-year struggle to turn the bank around is complete.

The bank is now ready to return fully to the private sector, and wants to start paying dividends from the second half of this year.

However, shares fell as Lloyds revealed further provisions to pay for legal bills and investors realised it would be several years before the bank starts paying serious dividends.

Lloyds reported statutory pre-tax profits of 415m for the year, compared with a loss of 606m in 2012.

The turnaround earned staff a bonus pool of 395m and chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio 1.7m.

His personal payout was tied to factors including the share price and will be paid in stock over five years.

The bank's position took a hard knock from PPI compensation and interest rate swaps mis-selling redress payments, as it set aside another 3.2bn to cover the costs.

Behind that and other bills, underlying profit for the year came to 6.2bn, up 140 per cent compared with 2011.

The results were supported by a five per cent fall in costs on the year.

Lloyds is also looking into following Barclays' example and cutting back on its branch footprint. It is looking at improving its mobile app, including potentially paying in cheques by photographing them.

Its next major review will come at the end of this year.

The bank's share price fell more than four per cent on the results, before closing down 2.7 per cent.

"Some investors were disappointed by the dividend and the outlook. Lloyds will only start paying out slowly, and we are still looking out to 2016 before it becomes a true high yielding stock," said analyst Ian Gordon from Investec.

Lloyds' common equity tier one capital ratio increased from 8.1 per cent to 10.3 per cent.

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Source: City A.M. (UK)

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