Results out today
Embattled government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland reported its first quarterly profit since 2015 today.
RBS made profits worth £259m in the first three months of 2017, up from a £968m loss in the same period last year.
Taking out restructuring costs, the core operating business made a profit of £1.3bn, up from £1.02bn.
RBS first quarter results have far exceeded analyst expectations and last year’s comparative figures, thanks to strong performance from its from its UK retail bank and its investment banking division, NatWest Markets. Losses from the ‘bad bank’ were also considerably lower than last year.
Adjusted operating profit came it at £1,371m, against analyst consensus of £942m.
Attributable profit, after deducting one-off items, came in at £259m, compared to a loss of £968m in the first quarter of 2016, when the bank paid £1,193m to the UK government as a special preference dividend.
The share price rose four per cent in early morning trading.
Laith Khalaf, senior analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “RBS has been quick off the blocks in 2017, with a strong performance that has comfortably beaten expectations. The UK retail bank appears to be chugging along quite nicely, and even the investment bank chipped in with some decent numbers.
It’s too early to pop the champagne corks though, because the US Department of Justice is likely to play the role of party pooper at some point, by landing RBS with a massive fine. The ongoing saga of the Williams & Glyn separation is still rumbling on too, and whatever the conclusion, it could end up costing RBS more money. These longstanding problems aside, this could be the year when RBS finally starts to look a bit more like a swan, rather than an ugly duckling.