Business Irish

Friday 23 February 2018

RBS to sell its UK unit before doing Irish deals

RBS ceo Ross McEwan
RBS ceo Ross McEwan
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

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.

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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