* Lloyds H1 profits jump 32 pct to 3.8 bln stg
* Bad debts drop 58 pct, margins rise
* PPI bill tops 10 bln pounds after extra 600 mln hit
* Santander UK adds 1.1 million current accounts
* Spin-off bank TSB profits drop as costs rise
(Adds details of misconduct charges, competitors)
By Matt Scuffham and Steve Slater
LONDON, July 31 State-backed British bank Lloyds
said it had strengthened its case to restart dividend
payments for the first time in six years after reporting a
one-third rise in profit for the first half.
The bank, which is 25 percent-owned by the government after
being rescued during the 2008 financial crisis, said it would
ask Britain's financial regulator in the second half of the year
for permission to begin paying "modest" dividends again.
Lloyds was one of Britain's highest dividend paying stocks
prior to its 20.5 billion pound ($34.7 billion) state bailout.
The bank reported an underlying profit of 3.8 billion
pounds, ahead of analyst expectations and up 32 percent on the
Including charges for restructuring and penalties related to
past misconduct, Lloyds made a statutory profit of 863 million
pounds. It said it expected statutory profit in the full year to
be significantly higher than in the first half, an indication
that the scale of charges for misconduct will decline as the
year goes on.
Its core tier-one capital ratio - a key measure of its
financial strength - rose to 11.1 percent from 10.3 percent at
the end of 2013.
Sanford Bernstein analyst Chirantan Barua said Lloyds should
eventually be able to return around 70 percent of earnings to
shareholders each year.
"We feel the second half will be strong for the bank -
especially post the imminent disposal of the government's
remaining equity in the bank; a factor which has remained an
overhang in recent times," said Barua, who rates Lloyds shares
"outperform", with a target price of 100 pence.
The government is keen to sell its remaining shares in
Lloyds before the next election in 2015, having already sold a
13.5 percent stake, raising 7.4 billion pounds for the state.
However, the bank's progress has been hampered by past
misconduct, resulting in charges totalling 1.1 billion pounds.
MORE CHARGES FOR PAST MISCONDUCT
Lloyds said it would set aside another 600 million pounds to
compensate customers mis-sold loan insurance, taking its total
bill to 10.4 billion, the most of any bank.
In addition, it has paid out fines of 225 million pounds
related to the attempted rigging of benchmark interest rates and
the manipulation of fees it paid under a government lending
scheme and set aside 225 million pounds to cover potential
pay-outs relating to the sale of investment and protection
products. Another 50 million was set aside to compensate small
businesses mis-sold interest rate swaps.
Citi analyst Andrew Coombs, who rates Lloyds "neutral" and
has an 80 pence share price target, said the charges "may take
some of the shine off these results". Lloyds' shares, which were
up 1.4 percent in early deals, were down 2.7 percent at 0910
Lloyds' profit benefited from improving economic conditions,
with losses from bad debts more than halving to 758 million
pounds. Its net interest margin - the difference between the
interest the bank lends at and what it pays to savers and a key
driver of income - jumped to 2.4 percent in the first half from
2.01 percent a year ago. Lloyds said it expected the margin to
rise to average 2.45 percent for 2014.
"The things that matter are being able to demonstrate a
statutory profit and a strong capital position. These half-year
results show both of those. I do think they strengthen our hand.
We go in in a good position," Finance Director George Culmer
Lloyds, Britain's biggest retail bank, is facing increasing
competition. Santander's British arm said on Thursday
that it added 1.1 million current account customers in the past
year, helping drive an 18 percent rise in pretax profit and
making it the biggest contributor to the Spanish bank's profit.
Santander UK, which is expected to be spun off and
separately listed in London in the next 18 months, said it made
a pretax profit of 545 million pounds.
Santander UK said its 123 current account, which has been
backed by a television advertising campaign featuring Rory
McIlroy and racing driver Lewis Hamilton, had added 600,000 new
customers so far this year, lifting the number of 123 accounts
to 3 million from 1.9 million a year ago.
Meanwhile, TSB, the new bank spun out from Lloyds
last month, showed the scale advantage that Lloyds and the UK's
big banks have when it reported a 17 percent profit drop
compared with the previous six months due to far higher costs.
($1 = 0.5913 British Pounds)
(Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)