Lloyds Bank strengthens dividend case with increased profit

LONDON Thu May 1, 2014 2:12am EDT

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LONDON May 1 (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group reported a 22 percent increase in first-quarter pretax profit and said it continued to expect to apply for permission in the second half of the year to restart dividend payments.

Lloyds, which is 25 percent-owned by the government, reported an underlying profit of 1.8 billion pounds ($3.04 billion) in the first quarter.

The bank also announced improved guidance on future margin and impairment charges. It now expects a 2014 net interest margin of 2.4 percent, an increase of around 10 basis points on previous guidance.

($1 = 0.5922 British Pounds) (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Steve Slater)