RBS regains control of dividends
- 22 March 2016
- From the section Business
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has taken a step towards returning to private hands, by regaining control over its dividend payments.
RBS, which is still 73% government-owned, said it had paid the Treasury £1.2bn to end an arrangement giving the government priority over dividends.
The payment puts a stop to the Dividend Access Scheme (DAS), which came into being in 2009 after RBS was bailed out.
The government intends to sell most of its RBS stake in the next five years.
It bought an 84% stake to save the bank at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, but has since reduced its holding.
RBS group chief executive Ross McEwan said the step was being taken "on the back of progress we have made in strengthening the bank's balance sheet in recent years".
The bank reported a loss of £1.98bn for 2015, its eighth year of annual losses.
At the time, it said that it did not expect to pay a dividend to shareholders in 2016, saying: "We now consider it more likely that capital distributions will resume later than Q1 2017."