Public sale of Lloyds shares withdrawn
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond has announced that the government has withdrawn plans for the retail sale of Lloyds shares that was originally expected to take place earlier this year. The government has been gradually selling its shares in the Lloyds Banking Group and the government’s stake in the bank has fallen to 9.1%. All the shares sales to date have been made to institutional investors raising around £16.9 billion to date.
The government had been expected to offer a least £2 billion of Lloyds Banking Group shares to the public by way of a share offer. However, the Chancellor was clear that the ongoing market volatility means it is not the right time for a retail offer.
The Treasury will now revert to using a trading plan that involves gradually selling the remaining shares to institutional investors in the market over time, in an orderly and measured way. This final push to sell the governments’ remaining stake in Lloyds is expected to raise a further £3.6 billion and should ensure that the government recovers the cash used to help save Lloyds during the financial crisis. The trading plan will be in place for approximately 12 months.
The Chancellor commented that:
‘Returning Lloyds to the private sector is in the interests of the bank, taxpayers and the country as a whole. That is why exiting our stake in Lloyds in an orderly way and at the best possible price is one of my top priorities as Chancellor.’