RBS settles with majority of claimants over 2008 share issue

Bank reaches final settlement with investors over £12bn rights issue eight years ago

Royal Bank of Scotland: Edinburgh-based bank failed the UK’s annual bank stress tests last week.

Royal Bank of Scotland: Edinburgh-based bank failed the UK’s annual bank stress tests last week.

 

Royal Bank of Scotland said on Monday it had settled legal claims with the majority of shareholders who had alleged they were misled when they took part in the bank’s 2008 £12 billion rights issue.

The state-backed bank said it has reached a full and final settlement with three of the five groups of investors who were pursuing lawsuits against it over the ill-fated cash call. RBS is now trying to reach an agreement with the other two groups to avoid the case coming to trial in March 2017.

The bank said it was willing to make available a sum of up to £800 million to be split across all five shareholder groups to bring an end to the legal action.

RBS raised £12 billion in April 2008 but, six months later, it had to be rescued in a £45.5 billion government bailout and has since failed to post an annual profit. The shares issued in the rights issue have lost about 90 per cent of their value.

Concealment allegations

More than 35,000 shareholders who took part in the cash call, including some of Britain’s biggest institutional investors and public pension funds, allege RBS deliberately concealed the extent of its financial problems when it raised the money.

The legacy of the drawn-out case has cast a shadow over the Edinburgh-based bank, which is still 73 per cent state-owned.

It failed the UK’s annual bank stress tests last week, forcing it to bolster its capital position as it prepares for misconduct fines and lawsuits that analysts and lawyers have estimated could cost the bank up to $27 billion. – (Reuters)