Lloyds share price: Treasury continues to trim stake in bailed-out lender
The UK government has sold more shares in bailed-out Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LON:LLOY), cutting its stake to below 15 percent, the blue-chip company has said this morning. The move comes ahead of a planned retail offer which will see the Treasury offer shares in the bank to private investors at a discount.
Lloyds’ share price was little changed in yesterday’s trading, adding 0.01 percent to close at 85.66p. The lender’s shares have gained some 17 percent over the past year.
Lloyds disclosed in a regulatory filing to the London Stock Exchange this morning that the Treasury had trimmed its stake in the bank to 14.98 percent, having previously held 15.90 percent. The sale brings the lender closer to full private ownership, with the government having more than halved the 43-percent interest it ended up with after rescuing Lloyds during the financial crisis. The UK government started selling off its stake in the bank in September 2013 and has so far recouped more than £13 billion for the taxpayer.
“It’s fantastic news that we’ve sold more shares in Lloyds Bank, taking the total recovered to over £13 billion,” Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said in a statement this morning. The Treasury has been selling shares in the bank to institutional investors via a pre-arranged trading plan launched in December last year which is scheduled to end no later than December 31, 2015. The government, however, also hopes to sell a large chunk to retail investors as it seeks to return the bank to full private ownership next year.
Earlier this year, the Chancellor presented the results of an independent review by Rothschild which showed that taxpayers were sitting on a paper profit of £5.3 billion as at June 5 from their £20.5 billion investment in Lloyds.
As of 08:00 BST, Thursday, 16 July, Lloyds Banking Group share price is 85.66p.