Updates from RBS, Capita and Standard Life


(FILES): This March 17, 2006 file photo shows the London Stock Exchange logo in London, England.  Merger mania gripped financial markets Wednesday, February 9, 2011 as the London and Toronto stock exchanges announced a tie-up and Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext envisioned the world's largest bourse.   AFP PHOTO / Files / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

More pressure on the FTSE 100 yesterday, down 31 points to 6,799.1. easyJet shares lunged 5.14% while going ex-dividend; Admiral Group and Tesco saw 2.88% and 2.74% share slips also. However engineering player Weir Group soared more than 7% on underlying growth optimism.

The Dow Jones climbed 18.75 points ending Wednesday at 16,198.4.

We start with some heavy losses from Royal Bank of Scotland (its sixth annual loss in fact since the bank's near-collapse in 2008). Pre-tax losses for 2013 come in at £8.2bn. Sobering figures. Strip out the bad bank costs and operating profits climb to £2.5bn.

Group income was down 10% to £19,775 million. RBS has announced plans to flog its 28% remaining interest in the UK's biggest car insurer, Direct Line. That stake is worth around £1bn currently.

"We expect margins to be slightly up in 2014," says RBS, "but anticipate lower securities gains from our liquidity portfolio. While the strategic repositioning of Markets announced in 2013 has progressed well, the external and regulatory environment remains challenging."

Next, Standard Life - and a warning that it could quit Scotland if it votes for independence. But first, assets under administration for 2013 climb 12% to £244.2bn, driven by strong net inflows up 92% to £9.6bn. Fee revenues for the year climb 15% to £1,459m, Standard Life claims.

But if anything were to threaten Standard Life's existing operations, "we will take whatever action we consider necessary - including transferring parts of our operations from Scotland - in order to ensure continuity and to protect the interests of our stakeholders," the bank says.

Standard Life is drawing up contingency plans on which chunks of its business it could transfer outside Scotland - much of it to England - if a move became necessary. If it remained in an independent Scotland then it would need to register as a foreign company on the London Stock Exchange.

We end with final year numbers from Capita. Revenues surges 15% to £3,851m while operating profit climbs 11% to £516.9m. Earnings per share climb 14% to 27.05p. Underlying free cash flow also rises slightly to £312m (2012: £307m).

The year saw Capita secure its largest ever contract win by annual value with Telefónica UK (O2) - £1.2bn over 10 years. It recently signed a large contract to link public sector computers across Scotland - worth more than £320m over nine years.

"We accelerated our organic growth," says boss Paul Pindar, "sustained good cash generation
and are reporting record underlying profits for the 25th successive year. This provides a strong platform for further growth in 2014."