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Part-nationalised RBS to reveal scale of losses

A BUSY week for corporate results will be dominated by Royal Bank of Scotland as the part-nationalised lender prepares to unveil more big losses.

The scale of the turnaround job that lies ahead for Royal Bank of Scotland will be laid bare on Thursday as the taxpayer-backed lender is set to plunge deeper into the red after a dismal 2013.

In sharp contrast to the fortunes of fellow bailed out player Lloyds Banking Group, annual results from RBS are likely to further dash hopes of any imminent return to the private sector.

The group, which is just over 80% owned by the Government, is thought to be heading for an annual loss of close to £8 billion for 2013 after it stunned the City last month by revealing a string of scandal-related financial charges worth more than £3bn.

HSBC, which reports today, is also in the spotlight over this issue amid reports it is discussing the option of making quarterly share payments to its 1000 top staff to get around the cap. Full-year results are expected to show pre-tax profits jumping by a fifth to 24.7 billion US dollars (£14.8bn).

Ladbrokes is expected to report a sharp decline in profits when it delivers annual results on Tuesday amid concerns over the progress of its online offering.

The bookmaker warned last year its digital profits would be a long way short of hopes and analysts fear its revamped site will not be in a position to take full advantage of the World Cup this summer.

A post-close update last month said group operating profit, excluding high rollers and exceptional items, would be around the middle of analysts' forecasts of £129.8 million to £151m, implying a fall of around 32%.

ITV will be hoping to repay the confidence of investors when it publishes full-year results on Wednesday at the end of a year which has seen its share price climb by around three quarters.

It has spent much of the period looking to minimise its exposure to volatile advertising markets by boosting its spending on original content.

The broadcaster has snapped up production firms behind programmes such as 24 Hours in A&E and the Graham Norton Show to build a portfolio of output that it can sell around the globe. It meant revenues from ITV Studios rose 11% in the first nine months of the year, even though its release schedule was weighted towards the fourth quarter.

Advertising revenues were also up, by 6%, in the nine-month period. These are expected to be ahead by 2% for the full year. Adjusted profits for 2012 were £464m, 17% ahead of the previous year. Numis Securities said it expects an improvement to £550m for last year.

Earnings are expected to remain under pressure at bakery chain Greggs when it reports annual results on Wednesday, despite signs that a turnaround plan is beginning to bear fruit.

Analysts expect adjusted pre-tax profits of £40.8m, a decline of 21%.

The group disclosed in a trading update last month that like-for-like sales were down 0.8% for the year, but the fourth quarter saw an improvement of 2.6%, coming after declines in preceding periods.

Analysts at UBS said sales were already benefiting from initial changes under the new strategy and like-for-like sales should grow 1.7% in 2014, with profits expected to rise by a modest 2.7%.

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