The government completed its latest round of selling shares in the bailed-out Lloyds Banking Group, netting £500 million and reducing its stake in the bank by 1%.
The sale, which happened on Friday, reduced the taxpayer’s stake to less than 23%.
At the height of the financial crisis in 2008 the government bailed out Lloyds for £20 billion and controlled 40% of the company.
Since then the treasury has been working on reducing its holdings in the bailed-out lender.
The money will be used to lower the national debt
Chancellor George Osborne said in a statement that the £500m will be used to lower the national debt.
“These sales are part of our plan to return Lloyds to the private sector and get taxpayers’ money back,”
“The proceeds will be used to reduce the national debt.”
On Twitter Osborne said that the recent £500m sell-off means that the government has recovered around £8.5 billion.
“Delighted that we have raised a further £500m for the taxpayer through Lloyds share sales, taking total recovered to approximately £8.5bn”
Progress on returning Lloyds to full private ownership
Lloyds said in a statement:
“Today’s announcement shows further progress made in returning Lloyds Banking Group to full private ownership and enabling the taxpayer to get their money back.”
“This reflects the hard work undertaken over the last four years to transform the Group into a low-risk and customer-focused bank that is committed to helping Britain prosper.”
Analyst calls the sale “manifestly good news” for shareholders and taxpayers
Investec analysts said that the Lloyds sale was “manifestly good news” for shareholders and taxpayers, with the bank’s shares trading at a year high.
Analyst Ian Gordon said in a note:
“With Lloyds shares trading at a 12-month high, we think it is manifestly good news, (for shareholders and taxpayers alike), that such share price appreciation has been achieved in tandem with an acceleration in the pace of sell-down of the UK Government’s residual stake.”