Lloyds Banking Group’s (LON:LLOY) chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio has spent about £36,000 buying up shares in the bailed-out lender, the company has disclosed. The move, which comes as the government returned the bank to full private ownership, is seen as a show of commitment to the group amid speculation that he might take the top job at FTSE 100 rival HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA).
Lloyds’ share price has been little changed this morning, having inched 0.07 percent higher to 71.33p as of 08:24 BST, slightly underperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.40 percent higher at 7,466.07 points. The group’s shares have added a little over three percent to their value over the past year, and are up by some 14 percent in the year-to-date.
Lloyds disclosed in a regulatory statement yesterday that its chief executive António Horta-Osório had acquired 50,000 shares in the bank this week, at a price of 72.31p per share. The move came as the government sold its remaining stake in the bailed-out lender, returning the group to full private ownership following its taxpayer-funded rescue during the financial crisis.
The Telegraph noted in its coverage of the news that the move was an apparent show of his commitment to the company amid speculation that he could take the top job at HSBC. Earlier this week, Lloyds’ chairman told the newspaper in an exclusive interview that Horta-Osório had no intention of leaving the bank in the short term.
In analyst news, Barclays remains bullish on Lloyds, having reiterated its ‘overweight’ rating on the group today, valuing the shares at 77p. According to MarketBeat, the FTSE 100 lender currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 71.07p.