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UK reduces stake in Lloyds to less than 20%

The UK government has sold around $779m worth of its shares in the Lloyds Banking Group, bringing its stake to below 20% in the bank.


The sale of more than half of its share in the bank has helped the government raise around £10bn.

The government had bought around 41% stake in the bank during the 2007-9 financial crisis at a cost of £20bn to taxpayers. However, the UK Financial Investments has been working on reducing the government’s stake in the bank slowly since December last year.

In its 2015 budget, the government said it will sell at least £9bn of the bank’s shares this year as well as next year.

According to the trading plan that was launched on 17 December last year, more than £2.5bn has already been raised.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said: "I’m delighted that we’ve now raised over £10bn from selling our shares in Lloyds Bank. This means we have recovered over half of the taxpayers’ money put into Lloyds, and now own less than 20% of the bank.

"These sales have only been made possible by our long term economic plan, and we are determined to build on this success, and to continue to return Lloyds to the private sector and reduce our national debt."

As per current share prices, the government’s remaining stake in the bank amounts to about £12bn.

According to Reuters, the government might also start selling its shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland at a loss later this year.

Image: The UK government will sell at least £9bn of its shares in the Lloyds Banking Group in 2015 and 2016. Photo: courtesy of Lloyds Banking Group.