LONDON May 1 Analysts expect Lloyds Banking Group to report a rise in first-quarter pretax profit on Thursday, continuing its recovery following a rescue by the UK government during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Sanford Bernstein analyst Chirantan Barua expects the bank, which is 25 percent-owned by the government, to post a pretax profit of 1.96 billion pounds ($3.31 billion) in the first quarter, up from 1.05 billion in the same period a year earlier.
Chief Executive Antonio Horta-Osorio has turned the bank's financial performance around, simplifying the business and slimming it down to focus on domestic lending and meet tougher regulatory requirements on capital. In 2013, it reported its first pretax profit for three years as lending to British households and businesses increased.
The government pumped 20 billion pounds into Lloyds during the financial crisis leaving it with a 41 percent shareholding. It has so far sold shares worth 7.4 billion pounds, reducing its stake to 25 percent, and wants to sell off the remainder before the next election in 2015.
Lloyds said in February it expected to apply to Britain's financial regulator in the second half of the year to restart dividends, potentially increasing the bank's appeal ahead of a possible government share sale to private retail investors.
The bank may on Thursday update investors on the planned stock market flotation of its TSB business, which is expected in the next two months.
It is not expected to set aside more funds to compensate customers mis-sold loan insurance. ($1 = 0.5922 British Pounds) (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; editing by Keiron Henderson)