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Lloyds shares surge as special dividend announced

Steve Clayton analyses the latest results from Lloyds Banking Group and shares his outlook for the bank.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

  • Lloyds share price up 9% in early trading as results well-received by the market.
  • Underlying profit was £8.1bn in the year to Dec 31, up 10% (excluding TSB).
  • A final ordinary dividend of 1.5p was declared, plus an additional special dividend of 0.5p per share.

On the 25 February 2016, Lloyds Banking Group announced that its shareholders would receive a special dividend of 0.5p per share, as the bank reported results which were well-received by the market.

View Lloyds Banking Group Factsheet

Underlying profit was £8.1bn in the year to Dec 31, up 10% on an ex-TSB basis. The underlying return on equity reached 15% (2014: 13.6%), with income up 1% to £17.5bn. A final ordinary dividend of 1.5p was declared, plus the aforementioned special dividend of 0.5p per share, taking the total for the year to 2.75p.

After the impact of provisions for PPI and the disposal of TSB, a statutory pre-tax profit of £1.6bn was declared.

The news of the forecast dividend helped the shares surge 9% higher. This will be of particular interest to investors who have registered for the proposed government share offer. Whilst this share offer remains on hold, the chancellor has said it will happen once market conditions stabilise.

Register for updates on the Lloyds Share Offer

Lloyds has raised its guidance for future expected levels of capital generation and has reported a further improvement in its cost:income ratio, down 0.5% to 49.3%. Over time, Lloyds expects to generate around 200 basis points (2%) of additional Common Equity Tier 1 capital each year, before dividends and to reach a cost:income ratio of 45% by the end of the decade.

Lloyds has taken a final “big bath” provision against PPI claims. The FCA is proposing a time limit to future claims and Lloyds has increased provisions against PPI by £4.0bn in 2015, taking the total to £16.0bn. Lloyds expects the provisions to be sufficient to cover all future claims against PPI.

View Lloyds Banking Group Factsheet

For 2016, Lloyds expects to deliver an increased net interest margin of 270 basis points (2015: 263 basis points), an asset quality ratio of around 20 basis points (up from just 14 basis points in 2015, but still well below medium-term expectations) and a targeted return on required equity in the range of 13.5 to 15.0%.

CEO, Antonio Horta-Osario said that 2015 was a milestone year, during which Lloyds delivered a robust financial performance and is now positioned well in the face of today’s economic and political uncertainties. Lloyds expects to deliver “superior and sustainable returns for our shareholders”.

Our view

Other banks would like to be where Lloyds is, especially now that it looks to have drawn a line under the whole sorry PPI affair. Lloyds tends to have the primary financial relationship with its clients; other players have to try and jostle their way in past the current account and mortgage provider to see what is left on the table.

Lloyds Banking Group plc Ordinary 10p

Sell: 43.55p | Buy: 43.56p | Negative 0.21 (0.48%)
Graph
Graph

View factsheet

Prices delayed by at least 15 minutes.

Capital ratios are strong and there is little need to build ratios up any more, so in future, the bank just needs to set enough capital aside to maintain current levels, as the business grows, and can give the rest back to investors. The bank has been assiduously cutting costs for years and is now reaping the benefit. Their class-leading cost:income ratio and focus on low risk, simple banking products means they have strong cash generation, but little need to retain the cash they create. Remember ratios should not be looked at in isolation and other factors should be considered.

Bad debts are extraordinarily low, a fraction of what Lloyds have previously described as typical, because interest rates are low and employment is high. Investors should not expect them to stay this low in the long run. But the Bank of England has suggested that rate increases, when they eventually come, will be gradual and modest in scale. That should limit the scale of any increase in bad debts.

Whilst HSBC and Standard Chartered were beneficiaries of the changes to the banking levy, its reshaping as a tax surcharge on UK bank profit is less helpful to Lloyds, given it has become a robustly profitable UK bank.

Lloyds is strongly capitalised and intends to return any surplus capital generation through special dividends and share buy-backs. It may not grow that quickly; after all, it has large shares of relatively mature markets, so it is a large fish that will bump up against the edges of the tank quite often. But if it can keep throwing off cash in the direction of shareholders when it does so, we can live with that. Lloyds remains our favourite amongst the UK’s major banking stocks.

View Lloyds Banking Group Factsheet

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Please remember, all stock market investments can fall in value as well as rise so they should be held for the long term and you could get back less than you invest. Tax rules can change and the value of any tax shelters will depend on your personal circumstances. Once held in a pension money is not usually accessible until age 55 (rising to 57 in 2028).

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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