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RBS returns to profit in H1, eyes Amsterdam for EU HQ

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc swung to a second-quarter profit on the back of lower litigation and conduct charges, and said it has picked Amsterdam as the location of its new European headquarters.

Edinburgh-based RBS reported consolidated net profit attributable to shareholders of £680 million for the three months to June 30, compared to a loss of £1.08 billion in the year-ago period.

Net interest income ticked up to £2.24 billion from £2.18 billion a year earlier. Non-interest net income also increased, to £1.47 billion from £823 million. The net interest margin came in at 2.13%, down from 2.21% in the second quarter of 2016.

Litigation and conduct costs declined year over year to £342 million from £1.28 billion, while restructuring costs dipped to £213 million from £392 million.

Impairment losses amounted to £70 million, down from the year-ago £186 million.

Return on tangible equity reached 8.0% during the quarter, compared to negative 11.0% a year earlier.

For the first half, attributable net profit came in at £939 million, compared to a net loss of £2.05 billion in the year-ago period.

Litigation and conduct costs for the first half declined to £396 million from £1.32 billion. The figure took into account a £151 million charge in respect of a settlement with the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency and a £25 million charge relating to the settlement of the 2008 rights issue shareholder litigation. Restructuring costs, meanwhile, rose to £790 million — including a £217 million charge relating to the reduction of the bank's property portfolio — from £630 million.

The bank's common equity Tier 1 ratio stood at 14.8% at June-end, compared to 14.1% at the end of March and 13.4% at December-end.

Meanwhile, RBS said it is in advanced discussions with the Dutch central bank about establishing its European headquarters in Amsterdam post-Brexit, CNBC reported.

"Obviously we've got a bank there with the appropriate licenses, we've had a long history in Amsterdam [and] for us at least it is a very logical choice," CFO Ewen Stevenson reportedly said, adding that such a move would require the relocation of about 150 jobs.