Eyes Down for Lloyds Banking Group PLC (ADR) (LYG)’s Results

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LONDON – Lloyds Banking Group PLC (ADR) (NYSE:LYG) is due to announce its annual results on March 1. At the time of writing, Lloyds’ shares are trading at 54 pence – up 51% from a year ago compared with a 6% rise in the FTSE 100.

How will Lloyds’ business have performed in 2012? And will the results justify the spectacular performance of the shares?

Lloyds Banking Group PLC (ADR) (NYSE:LYG)Analyst consensus forecasts
I had a bit of a rant about analyst consensus forecasts in my preview of Royal Bank of Scotland Group’s results, which are also due to be released next week. You can read what I had to say in that article, but the gist is that, on some occasions, the consensus is all but meaningless.

RBS is a case in point, and the same is largely true for Lloyds. For what it’s worth, you can take your pick from the following earnings-per-share (EPS) consensus forecasts for Lloyds: 2.13 pence (Morningstar); 2.53 pence (Yahoo! Finance); 2.85 pence (Digital Look).

Tangible net asset value
I’d suggest you don’t pay too much heed to earnings when you look at Lloyds’ upcoming results, and concentrate instead on the tangible net asset (TNAV) per share number.

In my view, TNAV is the single most useful valuation number for banks at all times, but perhaps especially when they’re recovering from a financial crisis and earnings are all over the place.

The table below show’s Lloyds’ TNAV per share at the end of each quarter since last year.

Dec 31, 2011 March 31, 2012 June 30, 2012 Sept. 30, 2012 Dec. 31, 2012
58.6 pence 58.3 pence 57.4 pence 56.6 pence ?

In terms of valuation, at a share price of 54 pence, Lloyds is trading at a 5% discount to TNAV per share in the Q3 balance sheet date of Sept. 30. The TNAV is, of course, five months out of date now, so the updated number in the upcoming results will give us an improved handle on whether the shares are trading at a discount, at par or at a premium.

What else?
At the nine-month stage, Lloyds gave guidance for the full year on several target numbers that you may want to check have been met:

1). Net interest margin around 1.93%;

2). Cost base close to 10 billion pounds;

3). Impairment charge approximately 6 billion pounds; and

4). Non-core asset reduction about 38 billion pounds.

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