Bank surges ahead

Lloyds seals £400m Embark deal and declares dividend

Lloyds-and-Embark

First big deal for Lloyds

Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed the £400 million acquisition of Embark, the privately-owned savings and retirement products group, and declared a dividend.

It is the bank’s biggest corporate acquisition since it returned to full private ownership four years ago following the government’s £20 billion bail-out in 2008.

Talks with Embark, which was set up in 2012, emerged in May as the bank pursues a return to growth by increasing share in key markets.

Embark has more than £40bn under administration and roughly 500,000 customers across the country as it has grown through a string of major acquisitions, including Zurich’s investment and retail platform last year.

It employs more than 600 staff, mainly in Edinburgh, London and Leeds.

It competes with the likes of AJ Bell and Pensionbee, which made its London stock market debut earlier this year.

The deal heralds the arrival of Charlie Nunn next month as replacement for departed CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio who led the bank’s recovery.

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The bank swung to a first-half profit and announced an interim dividend, boosted by a surging house buying market and improved economic outlook in Britain.

Lloyds posted pre-tax profits of £3.9 billion for the six months to June, ahead of the £3.1bn average of analyst forecasts compiled by the bank.

The bank had posted a first-half loss of £602 million the previous year, after setting aside billions to cover potential bad loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lloyds declared a 0.67 pence interim dividend.

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