HBOS profits soar 19 per cent

UK bank Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) has posted annual pre-tax profits of $11.1 billion - a 19 per cent rise from 2005.

Share prices rose to $1.93 per share from last year's $1.58 a share, as the bank recorded net income of $7.4 billion compared with last year's $6.32 billion.

Profits for the bank's retail wing were up four per cent to nearly $4.7 billion.

The profit announcement exceeded city expectations of $10.5 billion and has been attributed by the bank to combination of healthy returns from corporate banking and insurance sectors and effective cost cutting from chief executive Andy Hornby.

News of HBOS figures come in the wake of similarly healthy returns from rival UK banks Barclays and Lloyds TSB, who both recorded record returns of $14 billion and $7.1 billion respectively.

HBOS was formed when Halifax and Bank of Scotland merged and is the UK's largest mortgage provider with a 17 per cent share of the market in 2006.

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