LLOYDS Banking Group has taken another step towards full private ownership after the Treasury cut taxpayers’ stake in the lender to below 22 per cent.
The Treasury sold more than 706 million shares in Lloyds, worth about £568.8 million, taking its holding down to 21.99 per cent.
Taxpayers took a 40 per cent stake in the bank following its bailout by the UK government in 2009. Earlier this month the Treasury sold £500m worth of shares, leaving it with a 22.98 per cent interest.
Chancellor George Osborne said in his Budget speech last week that the UK government would sell “at least” a further £9 billion of Lloyds shares in the coming year.
Meanwhile, fellow state-backed lender Royal Bank of Scotland said it would sell more shares than previously expected in its US arm, Citizens.
The bank is selling at least 135 million shares, or 24.7 per cent, of Citizens’ stock – up from its earlier target of 115 million shares.
The sale will raise about $3.2bn (£2.1bn) for RBS, or $3.7bn if the group exercises an over-allotment option.
RBS has to fully exit its holding in Citizens by the end of next year to meet European rules on state aid.
Chief executive Ross McEwan said: “The sale of Citizens is an integral part of the RBS capital plan. It will help us to create a stronger, safer, UK focused bank that can better serve the needs of its customers.”
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