NatWest Group PLC on Friday posted a rise in pretax profit for the fourth quarter of 2022, which came in slightly ahead of market views, and said it intends to start a share buyback program of up to 800 million pounds ($959 million) in the first half of 2023.
The U.K. bank
posted a pretax profit of GBP1.43 billion for the three months to Dec. 31 compared with GBP543 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, against the GBP1.40 billion expected in a company-compiled consensus.
The lender, in which the U.K. government has a 44% stake, said its net profit was GBP1.26 billion compared with a GBP434 million for the year-earlier period and consensus’ GBP940 million.
Total income rose to GBP3.71 billion from GBP2.62 billion, beating the GBP3.58 billion forecasted by analysts. Net interest income for the quarter was GBP2.87 billion against consensus’ expected GBP2.88 million.
NatWest’s common equity Tier 1 ratio–a key measure of balance-sheet strength–stood at 14.2% at Dec. 31, in line with consensus and ahead of the bank’s end-2022 target of 14%.
The board proposed a final dividend of 10 pence a share.
For 2023, the lender said it sees total income excluding notable items of around GBP14.8 billion and a full-year net interest margin around 3.20%, along with a cost income ratio below 52%.
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