RSA eyes dividend resumption after return to black

Insurance group RSA today said it remained on track to restart dividend payments at the end of its financial year after moving back into the black.

The owner of the More Than brand has been selling overseas businesses since being hit by an accounting scandal in Ireland last year.

Those disposals – along with a recent rights issue – helped RSA deliver a pre-tax profit of £69 million for the first half, down from £250m a year ago but in sharp contrast to the £494m loss suffered in the final six months of 2013.

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Chief executive Stephen Hester said: “We expect to restart dividends with our full-year results and to build to a target payout level of 40 to 50 per cent of net profits over the medium term.”

The former Royal Bank of Scotland boss added: “While first-half profits are modest, they reflect further balance sheet and reserve clean-up as well as above normal weather costs.

“RSA is again a strong international general insurer. We intend to build a track record of delivery, and increasingly of excellence.”