ROYAL Bank of Scotland (RBS) reported an unexpected profit in the second quarter yesterday, with the majority state-owned bank boosting its stock ahead of an impending sale of shares currently held by the UK government.
RBS made an attributable profit of £293m, up 27 per cent on the same period last year. Analysts had expected a loss of £260m.
The Treasury currently owns a 78 per cent stake in the bank, but chancellor George Osborne said earlier this month that the government planned to sell at least three-quarters of its shares over the next five years.
“The bank is in much better shape than it was even 12 months ago and it's given the government the confidence to say this is a bank that we can start selling off,” RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said yesterday, adding, “The timing itself is up to the government.”
An initial sale to financial institutions, which will come at a loss on the average 502p per share price the government originally paid, is likely to come in September, Reuters reported yesterday afternoon.
RBS stock closed down 3.06 per cent yesterday, at a price of 342.4p per share.