Britain to sell off extra chunk of Lloyds bank

25th March 2014, Comments 0 comments

Britain revealed plans on Tuesday to sell an extra 7.5-percent stake in Lloyds Banking Group, in the latest move to steer the bailed-out lender back to the private sector.

UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which manages the state's bank holdings, said in a statement it will seek to sell some 5.35 billion shares to institutional investors.

The latest tranche will see the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government's total Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) holding drop from 32.7 percent to about 25 percent.

Last September, the coalition had earned £3.2 billion ($5.12 billion, 3.83 billion euros) from the sale of a 6.0-percent holding at 75 pence per share.

A Treasury spokesperson added that the finance minister George Osborne had authorised the latest sale process and was seeking to claw back taxpayers' cash from the lender's enormous rescue deal.

Banking giant Lloyds giant was bailed out at the height of the notorious 2008 global financial crisis with £20 billion of state funds.

"The government set out its objectives for its shareholdings in the banks ... last June -- getting the best value for the taxpayer, maximising support for the economy and restoring private ownership," the Treasury spokesperson said.

"And as set out in that address, the government will only conclude a sale if these objectives are met.

"Building a stronger banking system is a core part of the government's long term economic plan to deliver greater economic security."

UKFI added on Tuesday that Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Securities plc, Morgan Stanley Securities Limited and UBS Limited have been appointed to advise on the sale.

Details of the latest placing price and the exact number of placing shares would be announced in due course.

The news was meanwhile announced following the close of the London stock market.

LBG shares finished up 0.78 percent at 79.11 pence in Tuesday trading on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which closed 1.30 percent higher at 6,604.89 points.

Lloyds Banking Group was created by a merger of Lloyds TSB and rival British lender HBOS amid the global financial crisis.

However, HBOS was saddled with toxic or high-risk property investments, and LBG subsequently received a vast state bailout under the then-Labour government.


© 2014 AFP

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