LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland on Friday reported a much better than expected attributable pre-tax profit of 792 million pounds ($1.10 billion) in the first quarter, as bad loan provisions and restructuring costs fell.
Analysts had expected the taxpayer-owned bank, which returned to annual profit for the first time in a decade last year, to deliver 319 million pounds in profit before tax.
Even after ten years spent overhauling its business after the financial crisis, RBS is still not entirely back to normal. An outstanding multi-billion pound fine from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to put the bank back into the red at full-year results this year, although RBS said on Friday it had no news on the talks.
Restructuring costs for the first quarter fell to 209 million pounds from 509 million in the same period a year ago.
RBS also reported a common equity tier one capital ratio of 16.4 percent, up from 15.9 percent in February. Analysts say such additional capital gives the bank enough of a buffer to absorb a hefty fine from the DOJ.
$1 = 0.7182 pounds Reporting by Lawrence White and Emma Rumney; editing by Carolyn Cohn