Royal Bank of Scotland 3Q profit is $2 billion

November 4, 2011 - 5:20 AM

LONDON (AP) — Royal Bank of Scotland has reported a net profit of 1.2 billion pounds ($2 billion) in the third quarter as it booked a 2.4 billion pounds accounting gain on the value of its own debt.

The net profit for the quarter compared to a loss of 1.15 billion pounds a year earlier.

For the three months ending Sept. 30, the bank, which is 83 percent owned by taxpayers, reported total income was down 10 percent to 6.3 billion pounds.

Core operating profit — excluding taxes and the own debt gain — fell from 1.7 billion pounds to 1.3 billion pounds. Group operating profit, including noncore operating losses, fell from 726 million pounds a year ago to 267 billion pounds, falling below the consensus forecast of 340 million pounds.

Analysts at Investec Securities blamed the shortfall on a disappointing performance in Global Banking & Markets division, the investment banking unit, where non-interest income fell by a third.

"We will be looking to management to indicate whether it expects income to bounce back or for costs to fall in order to manage returns back to the cost of equity," they said in a research note.

RBS shares were up 4.5 percent at 23.8 pence in midmorning trading on the London Stock Exchange.

"Against all the odds, RBS is, slowly but surely, making progress," said Ian Gordon, analyst at Evolution Securities. He predicted a turnaround next year as one-off items diminish.

Chief Executive Stephen Hester said return on equity improved by 16 percent in the bank's retail and commercial businesses, but the investment banking division was "only modestly profitable."