Lloyds Banking Group marked 2017 as the year it returned to full private ownership on Wednesday by treating its shareholders to a £1bn share buyback after announcing a 24% rise in full-year profit before tax.
The buyback was additional to a full-year dividend payment of 3.05p a share, up 20% on 2016, representing a total return to shareholders of around £3.2bn.
The capital returns were announced along with the bank's full-year results, in which statutory profit before tax rose by nearly a quarter on last year to £5.3bn.
Other full-year financial highlights
- Underlying profit of £8.5bn was 8% up on 2016
- Underlying return on tangible equity of 15.6% up from 14.1% in 2016
- Net income at £17.5bn was 5% higher than 2016
- Net interest margin improved to 2.86% from 2.71% in 2016
- Profit for the year increased 41% to £3.5bn
- Earnings per share rose 52% to 4.4p
The company also issued a strategy update in which it said it was invest more than £3bn in further digitisation, driving its focus on becoming a "simple, low-risk, customer-focused" financial services provider.
Antonio Horta-Osorio, chief executive (left), said: "2017 has been a landmark year in which the Group has made significant strategic progress and returned to full private ownership.
"We have delivered another year of strong financial performance with improved profit and returns on both a statutory and underlying basis and have now built the largest and top rated digital bank in the UK. We are therefore well prepared to succeed in a digital world."
Lloyds shares performed reasonably robustly through the equity market correction in early February, falling just 8.25% from peak to trough, and have recovered some ground in recent days. Shortly after the open on the London Stock Exchange, shares in Lloyds were up 1.61% to 68.94p.
Picture courtesy of Lloyds Banking Group