LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s biggest mortgage lender Lloyds Banking Group posted weaker-than-expected growth in annual profits on Wednesday but boosted shareholders with a increased dividend and a 1.75 billion pound ($2.28 billion) share buyback.
The bank posted net profits of 4.4 billion pounds for 2018, below expectations of 4.6 billion pounds, according to a company-provided average of analyst forecasts. The figure was up 24 percent from 3.5 billion pounds in 2017.
The bellwether FTSE 100 firm also unveiled an annual dividend of 3.21 pence, taking total payouts for investors for the year to around 4 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.7663 pounds) (Reporting by Iain Withers and Lawrence White, editing by Sinead Cruise)