RBS not yet strong enough for any profitable UK sale-CEO

LONDON Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:40am EST

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LONDON Feb 27 (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland's new boss said his bank was not in good enough shape for Britain to start selling its stake in the lender at a profit in the near term.

"We need to recognise that we are not yet a strong enough bank that can be privatised at a profit for the taxpayer in the immediate future," Chief Executive Ross McEwan said in a presentation on Thursday.

"The journey to recovery and renewal is harder than was first anticipated back in 2008," he said. Britain owns 81 percent of RBS after rescuing the bank in the financial crisis.

McEwan was laying out plans to revive RBS by focusing more on its core British banking business and cutting 5 billion pounds ($8.3 billion) of annual costs.

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