LONDON, August 2 (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland on Friday announced a 1.7 billion pound ($2.06 billion) dividend, but warned a tough economic environment will curtail its profitability over the next 18 months.
The state-backed lender posted stronger-than-expected half-year pretax profits of 2.7 billion pounds, above forecasts of 2.3 billion pounds according to a company-provided average of analyst forecasts.
The figure was up 48% on 1.8 billion pounds the previous year, largely lifted by a 700 million pound boost from selling its stake in Saudi bank Alawwal.
The bank, which gave no update on its search for a successor to outgoing CEO Ross McEwan, said a tough outlook would make it unlikely to meet its goal of achieving a 12% plus return on tangible equity by 2020, although said this remained its medium term goal.
The lender announced an interim dividend of 2 pence per share and a special dividend of 12 pence. ($1 = 0.8263 pounds) (Reporting by Iain Withers and Lawrence White Editing by Rachel Armstrong)