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Court gives bank more time

RBS shareholders ‘close to settlement’

RBS St Andrew SqShares in Royal Bank of Scotland rose as it looked increasingly likely to avert a lengthy high court trial with shareholders suing it over its 2008 rights issue.

A court suspended the trial for a second day as negotiators neared a settlement deal with claimants. Shares rose 1.59% to 265.50p in afternoon trading.

Shareholders have signalled they are willing to accept the latest offer from the bank which was said to be worth 82p per share from a previous 43p at a cost of more than £200 million.

The bank has already reached agreement with shareholders representing 87% by value of the claim. Representatives for the last of five shareholder groups are considering the higher offer.

Jonathan Nash QC, for the claimants, told a hearing today: “The majority of claimants have indicated their willingness to accept the latest offer from the defendant.

“There now appears to be a good prospect that within the course of today the remaining claimants, or nearly all, will confirm they also agree in principle so as to bring a practical end to proceedings.”

About 9,000 individuals and 20 institutional investors are suing RBS, claiming they lost money after being misled over the bank’s true financial state when they were asked to take part in a £12 billion rights issue.

Among those plaintiffs said to be urging a settlement is Trevor Hemmings, the businessman and race horse owner.

Others want to see former chief executive Fred Goodwin and his colleagues explain their actions in court.

Background to case and timeline here

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