LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance ministry said on Monday it had raised 500 million pounds ($769 million) through the sale of a further 1 per cent stake in Lloyds Banking Group, taking its stake to below 24 per cent.
The sale moves Lloyds another step towards a full return to private ownership after Britain pumped 20 billion pounds ($31 billion) into the bank during the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009, leaving it with a 41 per cent shareholding.
UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which manages the government’s stakes in bailed out banks, hired Morgan Stanley in December to sell Lloyds shares on the stock market through a “pre-arranged trading plan”.
The sales since made by Morgan Stanley, all at a price above the 73.6 pence average price that the government paid, have taken the government’s stake down to 23.9 per cent from 24.9 per cent when the trading plan was launched. They also take the total amount raised by the government so far from selling down its stake in Lloyds to just under 8 billion pounds.
“This is further progress in returning Lloyds Banking Group to private ownership, reducing our national debt and getting taxpayers’ money back,” said Britain’s finance minister, George Osborne.