Business Irish

Friday 9 December 2016

RBS to sell its UK unit before doing Irish deals

Published 29/10/2016 | 02:30

RBS ceo Ross McEwan
RBS ceo Ross McEwan

Ulster Bank's owner will wait till it completes a sale of its UK-based Williams & Glyn unit before targeting Irish acquisitions, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) chief executive Ross McEwan said yesterday.

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The RBS chief told the Irish Independent earlier this month that he'd be interested in looking at Irish deals a year from now.

Yesterday he told analysts that RBS will look at "safe" Irish add-on deals once a sale of Williams & Glyn is finalised.

Market speculation is for a potential deal with Permanent tsb or KBC Ireland.

RBS must sell Williams & Glyn to meet European competition rules but says it won't meet the deadline to complete an exit by the end of 2017.

The bank reported a rise in pre-tax earnings yesterday but was hit by legal and restructuring costs. Pre-tax profit, excluding one-time costs, rose to £1.33bn in the first nine months of the year.

Profits fell at Ulster Bank in the third quarter, to £68m (€76m), down from £108m at the same time a year ago. But the earlier figure was boosted by one-off sales and write backs.

The Irish unit's net lending margin rose to 1.62pc from 1.52pc last year.

It also reported positive momentum in new mortgages up 49pc to €300m in the most recent quarter.

RBS shares fell 1.7pc to 194.70 pence yesterday.

Irish Independent

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