Royal Bank of Scotland provided some much-needed cheer for the banking sector yesterday (27th February) after posting annual pre-tax profits in line with City hopes.
Royal Bank of Scotland cheers banking sector
The rise of 12 per cent to 4.76 billion during the 12 months to December 31 came after a year of 'good progress', chief executive Fred Goodwin said.
He said the performance was achieved at the same time as RBS managed the integration of NatWest's IT systems following its acquisition in 2000.
The move - billed by RBS as one of the largest integration projects worldwide - was completed several months ahead of schedule in October and resulted in bonus payments equivalent to 5 per cent of salary being paid to those staff involved.
Prior to those costs and other exceptional items, RBS posted an increase in full-year underlying profits of 12 per cent to 6.45 billion.
It also took a higher charge to cover bad debts - up to 1.34 billion from 991 million in 2001 - but RBS said this was in line with the trend seen over its last three half-year periods.
Mr Goodwin said uncertainty remained over economic prospects but he believed the group was well placed to deliver 'superior sustainable value'.
He added: 'It is clear that the strength, diversity and flexibility of our group present many options for future growth not only in the UK, but also in the US and continental Europe.'
The Royal Bank of Scotland is a major financial services group providing a range of retail and corporate banking, financial markets, consumer finance, insurance, and wealth management services. Locally RBS has a strong presence in the technology sector.