Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has bounced back into the black with an operating profit of £829m ($1.3bn) for the three months to end March.

In the year-ago quarter, RBS lost £1.5bn and ended fiscal 2012 with a fourth quarter loss of £2.2bn.

RBS was helped by a sharp reduction in impairment losses: they fell to £1.03bn in the first quarter, down by 24% from the same period last year.

Total assets continued to inch down and fell a further 7% in the past year to £1.3trn at the end of the first quarter.

Stephen Hester, CEO, RBS described the balance sheet as "substantially fixed," He added: "the operating profitability has come in quite strongly."

The results prompted speculation that the government may consider reducing its RBS stake (currently 82%)

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Hester said the government could "start selling shares from the middle of 2014 on, to complete the recovery process in about a year’s time."

Related articles:

UniCredit aquires RBS Romania

FCA to investigate RBS IT glitches

RBS suffers further technical problems