The Ulster Banks parent, RBS, published its annual results for the year ending 31st December 2012 this morning. As befits a multi billion pound Company the report extends to over three hundred pages. A physically impressive tome it may be, but the figures presented by Mr Hester hardly merit that adjective, - well maybe with a large dose of sarcasm. The, "Shreds," successor tries to see positive elements in the columns of figures. He points to the operating profit before impairment losses. But you do have to take account of impairment losses. They may, strictly speaking, be non recurring items, but they seem to be becoming a regular feature in the accounts. The bottom line, and isn't that what we should be concentrating on, shows a loss attributable to shareholders of £5,971,000,000.
The index to the report points us to page fifty for the constituent figures for Ulster Bank. Unfortunately they don't provide a little nugget of hope for the Group. Before impairment losses the operating profit has declined from £400m to £324m - a decline of 19%. What then of the infamous impairment losses? Well they have declined from £1384m to £1364m. Hoorah! However after you factor these into the figures we find that the Ulster Bank's operating loss has increased from £984m to £1040m. Hardly an A*performance. The fallout from the property crash is still affecting the figures.
Mr Hester is reported as saying that the Royal Bank Group will be ready for sale by 2015. Is he being overly optimistic? On the evidence of the present figures it might be difficult to share his confidence.