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Last Updated: Monday, 8 March, 2004, 07:32 GMT
No share buyback at Lloyds TSB
Lloyds TSB bank
UK banking group Lloyds TSB has decided against launching a share buyback programme but said it is making good progress at reshaping its business.

The news came as the bank unveiled a 66% rise in full-year profits to 4.35bn, although the figure was lifted by sales of overseas assets.

Stripping out the sales proceeds and other one-off items, profits were down 4% to 3.38bn.

Its UK banking and mortgage business saw "robust" growth, Lloyds TSB said.

New focus

Following a 17% fall in profits a year ago, the bank's new chief executive Eric Daniels sought to alter the bank's strategy.

Over the past year, Lloyds TSB has sold the National Bank of New Zealand, many of its businesses in Brazil and its French operations.

It has also sold its Central American businesses and emerging markets portfolio.

"We have removed significant earnings volatility and are now more focused on our core franchises," the bank said.

The re-emphasis on its core activities had resulted in "robust" results from its UK retail banking and mortgage business, the bank added.

Pre-tax profits at the business were up 1% to 1.02bn, and up 21% if a 200m provision for customer compensation is excluded.

Credit card balances were up 18% and gross new mortgage lending jumped 27% to an all-time high of 24.2bn.

On the acquisition trail?

Speculation had been a growing ahead of the results announcement that Lloyds TSB would use some of its proceeds from its asset sales to fund a share buyback programme.

But Lloyds said it may have more interesting uses for the money.

"We also wish to maintain the flexibility to make value-enhancing 'in-market' acquisitions... The board has decided not to implement a share buyback programme," the bank said

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