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RPT-RBS profits halved by coronavirus hit, drops Bó brand

(Repeats to new USN)

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - British state-backed lender Royal Bank of Scotland said its profits halved in the first quarter, as it set aside 802 million pounds ($1.01 billion) against a likely spike in bad loans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

RBS on Friday posted pre-tax profits of 519 million pounds for the period, down from 1 billion pounds the previous year, just ahead of the 415 million pound average of analyst forecasts compiled by the bank.

The lender reiterated its strategic priorities set out by CEO Alison Rose in February, but said it would wind down Bó, the digital bank only launched last November, as a customer facing brand. ($1 = 0.7961 pounds) (Reporting by Iain Withers and Lawrence White Editing by Rachel Armstrong)