British supermarket chain Sainsbury's on Wednesday announced a rise in annual profits and said it was taking full control of the group's banking unit after buying the stake held by bailed-out Lloyds Banking Group. Britain's third-biggest supermarket chain after Walmart-owned Asda and the country's largest retailer Tesco said net profit grew 3.0 percent to £614 million ($951 million, 725 million euros) in the 12 months to March 16. Earnings after tax had stood at £598 million in 2011-12, Sainsbury's added in a statement. Revenue meanwhile climbed 4.5 percent to £23.3 billion in the reporting period. "Sainsbury's has again delivered a good sales and profit performance, continuing to gain market share," said chairman David Tyler. "Our intention to take full ownership of Sainsbury's Bank is one that will benefit both customers and shareholders and allow its full potential to be realised," he added. Sainsbury's said it had agreed to buy the 50 percent share of the bank held by Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) for £248 million. "This is an exciting transaction for Sainsbury's which has the potential to deliver significant benefits to our shareholders, customers and colleagues," said Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King. "We have 23 million transactions each week by customers who know and trust the Sainsbury's brand. We see a great opportunity to increase the number of bank customers by offering accessible, high quality financial services products which reward customers who bank and shop with us. "We expect the Bank to become an important source of profit diversification and growth, building on the strengths of our core business," King added. Launched in 1997, the bank's pre-tax profit stood at £59 million in 2012/13, while gross assets presently stand at about £5.0 billion. LBG is meanwhile 39-percent owned by the British government after a massive bailout in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.