Lloyds share price: Retail sale could be back on track for this year
The final privatisation of Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) with a sale to retail investors could be back on track for this year, The Telegraph has reported. The news came after the lender’s shares, which have benefitted from the recent market rally as well as from the group’s full-year results, briefly rose above the taxpayer’s break-even price last week, for the first time this year.
Lloyds’ share price has been subdued in today’s session, having lost 1.58 percent to 72.08p as of 13:59 GMT. The decline is part of a broader market selloff which has seen the FTSE 100 lose 1.07 percent to 6,133.07 points so far today. The shares are currently trading below the 73.6p paid by the government to bail out the lender during the financial crisis.
The Telegraph reported over the weekend that insiders were hoping that if Lloyds’ share price was sustained above the taxpayer’s break-even level in the coming months, the government stake in the bank could be gradually reduced from its current level of nine percent to as little as four percent.
While the Treasury had been steadily offloading shares in the bailed-out lender to institutional investors via a pre-arranged trading plan, those sales have been put on hold with the shares trading below the 73.6p-level. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne also recently shelved plans to offer about £2 billion of the government’s holding in Lloyds to retail investors at a discount on account of the stock market turmoil seen in the past few months.
The Telegraph reported that it was understood that the next possible windows for a public sale could come either in May or in the autumn, with practical constraints limiting the timing of a retail offering. The newspaper notes that such a process would take at least four weeks, implying that a lengthy period of relative stability would be required.
As of 14:21 GMT, Monday, 07 March, Lloyds Banking Group share price is 72.09p.