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NatWest pledge to hand out £3.5bn

National Westminster Bank has promised it will return £3.5bn to shareholders in its final defence bid against Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland.


The beleaguered bank guaranteed if shareholders allowed it to remain independent it would immediately launch a £1.5bn tender offer to buy back its own shares and to pass on the proceeds from the sale of Ulster Bank and Gartmore.


Natwest chairman Sir David Rowland unveiled estimated pre-tax profits for last year of £2.3bn, eight per cent up on 1998.


Rowland says: “It is common ground between all of us we can do better, because we&#39ve got one hell of a business.”


BoS and RBS have less than a week left to revise their offers.

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