RBS's 2018 dividend better than expected as profits double

RBS's 2018 dividend better than expected as profits double
FILE PHOTO: Royal Bank of Scotland signs are seen at a branch of the bank, in London, Britain December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo -
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Peter Nicholls(Reuters)
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By Iain Withers and Lawrence White

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Royal Bank of Scotland unveiled a better than expected dividend for long-suffering investors after its profit more than doubled in 2018, but the lender warned Brexit would make it harder to achieve its cost-cutting goals.

The majority-state owned lender announced an annual dividend of 3.5 pence and a special dividend of 7.5 pence, taking total payouts including an earlier interim dividend to 13 pence per share.

RBS reported a net profit of 1.6 billion pounds, above expectations of 1.4 billion pounds according to a company-provided average of analyst forecasts and up from the prior year's 752 million pounds.

The landmark dividend payout follows a painful decade of massive misconduct and restructuring costs for the bank following its 45 billion pound state rescue in 2008.

RBS chief executive Ross McEwan warned the UK economy faced "a heightened level of uncertainty related to ongoing Brexit negotiations".

(Reporting by Iain Withers; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)

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