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Earnings

RBS beats full-year profit expectations, warns of 'heightened' Brexit uncertainty

Key Points
  • RBS' chief executive Ross McEwan said that "2018 was a year of strong progress on our strategy - we settled our remaining major legacy issues, paid our first dividend in ten years and delivered another full year bottom line profit."
  • However, there are significant concerns over Brexit and the future of the U.K. economy.

Royal Bank of Scotland has slightly beaten expectations by reporting a net income of £1.62 billion ($2.07 billion) for 2018 on Friday.

Analysts were expecting a net income of £1.58 billion for the full-year, according to Reuters' Eikon.

In terms of quarterly performance, net income stood at £286 million versus £448 million in the third quarter.

Here are some other highlights for the full-year:

  • Profit stood at £3.34 billion versus £2.24 billion in 2017
  • Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of 16.2 percent versus 15.9 percent at the end of 2017
  • It proposed a full-year ordinary dividend of 3.5 pence per share

The U.K. lender has been at the center of a long legal saga with the DOJ over its selling of toxic mortgages in the U.S. in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. The lengthy settlement agreement process had prevented the bank from providing dividends to its shareholders. In the summer last year, the bank proposed its first dividend in 10 years.

RBS' chief executive Ross McEwan said in a statement: "2018 was a year of strong progress on our strategy - we settled our remaining major legacy issues, paid our first dividend in ten years and delivered another full year bottom line profit."

However, there are significant concerns over Brexit and the future of the U.K. economy.

'Heightened' Brexit uncertainty

The bank warned of ongoing economic and political uncertainty and highly competitive mortgage market, along with uncertainty surrounding U.K.'s exit from the European Union.

"The U.K. economy faces a heightened level of uncertainty related to the ongoing Brexit negotiations," RBS' McEwan said in the statement Friday.

In the third-quarter of 2018, the bank said it had set aside an impairment provision of 100 million pounds to deal with economic uncertainties, including from the fallout of Brexit.

RBS also said on Friday that it would look to reduce its operating costs by about £300 million in 2019.