Clydesdale Bank float an ‘absolute priority’

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Clydesdale Bank and its sister business Yorkshire Bank are being readied for a stock market flotation after their Australian owner confirmed plans to exit the UK.

National Australia Bank (NAB), which has owned Glasgow-based Clydesdale since 1987 and Yorkshire since 1990, said it was considering a broad range of options for the pair, including a stock market listing.

Chief executive Andrew Thorburn said the exit plan was an “absolute priority” for the group after it reported a 1.1 per cent drop in full-year profits due to one-off charges at the UK banking business to cover mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) and interest rate hedging products sold to small businesses.

The Yorkshire and Clydesdale business, which has about 7,100 UK staff and more than 300 branches, has long been the subject of sale speculation after it racked up hefty losses for NAB through property loans turned sour.

Virgin Money and Aldermore are also planning flotations but have been forced to delay their listing moves because of recent stock market volatility.