State-backed Lloyds Banking Group has recorded a big rise in profits for the first quarter of 2013.
The bank reported a statutory pre-tax profit of £2.04 billion ($3.72 billion) in the first quarter, up from £280 million for the same period in 2012.
Underlying profits, which do not include certain one-off costs and gains, were £1.5 billion for the quarter. Exclusions include costs related to potential Payment Protection Insurance payouts and Project Verde - the planned sale of more than 630 bank branches.
The company said it was moving forward with plans to float the branches that European authorities have ordered it to sell as a price of a state bailout during the financial crisis, which saw 39 per cent of the bank become owned by the government.
Lloyds' profits were also boosted as a result of cutting costs by six per cent in the first quarter. The company is expected to reduce costs by just over £9 billion by 2014.
By Gary Cooper