Lloyds profits soar over £2bn

Suzie Neuwirth

BRITISH bank Lloyds today announced pre-tax profits of over £2bn for the first quarter of 2013, with the sale of a stake in asset manager St James’s Place raising £394m.

Pre-tax profit hit £2.04bn for the quarter, compared to £497m year-on-year, due to increased income and a 40 per cent reduction in impairment charges year-on-year.

The state-backed bank confirmed its plans to sell its Spanish retail operations in April, which will lead to a further £1.5bn reduction in non-core assets.

“We made substantial progress again in the first quarter. Underlying and statutory profits improved significantly, and our core loan book returned to growth earlier than expected,” said group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.

“Margin increased, and costs and impairments continued to fall rapidly, with this progress underpinned by a further strengthening of our balance sheet.

“We are delivering real benefits for customers, colleagues and shareholders by investing behind our simple, UK customer-focused retail and commercial banking model, and are now further ahead in our plan to transform the group, as reflected in the enhanced guidance for costs and capital we are giving today.”