City File: NatWest likely to need further pounds 1bn

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The Independent Online
LORD ALEXANDER, being a lawyer, will know the exact meaning of his comments at National Westminster's half- year results that the bank has 'no present intention' of launching a rights issue. It means the cash-call door is locked until the autumn and there are many who feel NatWest needs further funds. Martin Hughes, at Credit Lyonnais-Laing, says NatWest's capital ratios are rather tight, and leave the bank little room for large-scale lending to small and medium-sized businesses if the economy recovers.

Mr Hughes estimates NatWest would need to raise about pounds 1bn to secure its market position. The shares slipped 8p to 498p on Friday and could fall further.