Bancorp's value gets a boost

JOHN EISENHAMMER

Financial Editor

NatWest Group's negotiations to sell its US retail banking operations were boosted yesterday by a 41 per cent rise in pre-tax profits at Bancorp to $337m (pounds 225m) for the first nine months from $240m a year before. NatWest is looking for more than pounds 2.5bn from the sale of the New Jersey-based Bancorp group.

Bancorp posted lower net income for the nine months to 30 September, at $185m compared with $215m in the same period of 1994. The bank said the fall reflected the inclusion of a full Federal income tax provision in 1995 following the utilisation of tax-offsetting benefits in the previous three years.

John Tugwell, NatWest Bancorp's chairman and chief executive, who is the highest-paid man in the group, earning last year a total of pounds 1.5m, said: "These achievements combined with our expanded marketplace presence have enhanced the value of the NatWest Bancorp franchise."

NatWest has decided to take advantage of the current spate of big retail banking mergers and takeovers in the US to cash in on Bancorp at what it hopes will be a full price.

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