Lloyds in line for return to private ownership

Banking group reports pretax profit for first time in three years

UK government-backed Lloyds Banking Group said it was ready to return to private ownership after reporting a pretax profit for the first time in three years.

Lloyds’ chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio has turned around the bank’s fortunes since taking the helm in March 2011, slimming it down to focus on lending to UK households and businesses and meet tougher regulatory requirements on capital. But the bank risked a political backlash by paying out £395 million in bonuses last year, up 8 per cent on the previous year, including a £1.7 million award to Mr Horta-Osorio.

Lloyds previously ran Bank of Scotland (Ireland). It said yesterday that impairments for souring loans fell 21 per cent to £1.52 billion as losses from Ireland slowed. – (Bloomberg/Reuters )