The UK government is expected to make at least a £500-million profit from its bailout of Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY), Reuters has reported, quoting the FTSE 100 group’s chief executive. The comments come with the Treasury believed to be within days of returning the lender to full private ownership following its taxpayer-funded rescue during the financial crisis.
Lloyds’ share price has slipped into the red in today’s session, having lost 0.77 percent to 69.34p as of 12:23 BST, and underperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently 0.07 percent better off at 7,390.58 points. The group’s shares have added just under 11 percent to their value so far this year, but continue to trade below the government’s break-even price of 73.6p.
Reuters quoted Lloyds’ chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio as saying today that the government stood to make at least a £500-million profit from its bailout of the company during the financial crisis. The UK pumped more than £20.3 billion into the bank, leaving the taxpayer with a 43-percent shareholding, which has gradually been offloaded over the last five years, most recently, via a pre-arranged trading plan which has seen shares in Lloyds go to institutional investors.
“We take great pride in the fact that the government has already received more than its original investment of £20.3 billion,” Horta-Osorio pointed out. “Looking at the group now it is perhaps easy to lose sight of the fact that just six years ago this was a bank in crisis.”
The newswire also quoted Lloyds’ chairman Norman Blackwell as telling shareholders at the group’s annual general meeting that the taxpayer’s stake in the lender was down to 0.25 percent, putting the bank on track for a return to full private ownership within ‘days’.