December 3, 2012 / 2:42 AM / 8 years ago

RBS needs 10 years to return to private sector: Times

A logo of an Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is seen at a branch in London February 23, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - It will take a decade to fully return Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) to the private sector, the state-owned lender has predicted, according to the UK’s Times newspaper on Monday.

The bank plans to be ready to start paying dividends in late 2014, the Times reported, without citing a source.

After an additional 18 months of bolstering the bank’s balance sheet, senior RBS figures believe that it will be returned to the private sector in four offerings over 10 years, the newspaper said.

Each of these offerings would amount to more than 10 billion pounds ($16 billion), the report added.

In 2008, Britain pumped 45.5 billion pounds into RBS, leaving the taxpayer with an 82 percent holding in the bank.

On Friday RBS, which trades on the London stock exchange, closed at 295 pence per share, representing a market capitalization of 17.9 billion pounds.

Last week, the Bank of England warned that British banks’ true capital position was probably worse than what the relatively healthy official numbers imply.

The bank said that this is because banks have been over-optimistic about the future financial market dangers due to their over-optimistic assessment of the risks facing them.

($1 = 0.6240 British pounds)

Reporting By Dasha Afanasieva

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