THE UK government has netted another £500 million from the sale of shares in Lloyds Banking Group.
Yesterday’s transaction means the taxpayer now holds a 23.9 per cent stake in the bank, compared with 40 per cent when it was bailed out during the financial crisis.
The amount of money recovered from the lender is now just under £8 billion after the latest round of share sales was launched in December – a move cutting the Treasury’s stake from about 25 per cent.
All shares sold through the trading plan were made at a level above the average price the previous government paid for them, which was 73.6p. Lloyds’ shares have been boosted by the prospect that it will announce its first dividend payout in seven years later this week.
The government has chosen to sell the stock over time “in an orderly and measured way” rather than through large tranches.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “This is further progress in returning Lloyds to private ownership, reducing our national debt and getting taxpayers’ money back.”
Lloyds is expected to report underlying annual pre-tax profits of about £7.8bn on Friday, up from £6.2bn in 2013. However, after putting aside more money to compensate customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance, statutory profits of around £2bn are expected.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE SCOTSMAN’S BUSINESS BRIEFING