‘Determined’ Osborne speeds up Lloyds share sell-off plansComments Off on ‘Determined’ Osborne speeds up Lloyds share sell-off plans
Osborne has told UK Financial Investments to continue the drip-drip sell-off of taxpayer shares through broker Morgan Stanley which began last December. Since then, the broker has sold 4.2 billion shares in the market at an average price of just over 80p, raising a total of £3.4 billion.
That represented just over 5% of Lloyds and thanks to the reintroduction of dividend payments, the disappearance of Labour’s threat to banks at the general election and rising profits from Lloyds, the shares were all sold above the average 73.6p paid by the taxpayer in 2009’s bailout.
Morgan Stanley has now been mandated to sell a further 5% or so of the Government’s stake so long as it can do so above that bail-out price. After sales on Friday the stake has come down to below 19%. It was just under 25% in December.
Osborne said: “The trading plan has been a huge success, with almost £3.5 billion raised for the taxpayer so far. This means we have now recovered over £10.5 billion in total, more than half of the taxpayers’ money put into Lloyds, and we now own under 19% of the bank.
“But we’re determined to get on with the job of returning Lloyds to private ownership. That’s why I’m extending the plan for six months so that we can make even more progress in returning money to the taxpayer and paying down the national debt.”
He added that this would be part of his Budget announcement that the Treasury planned to raise £9 billion through further Lloyds shares sales in the current fiscal year. That includes just over £1 billion already raised by the first tranche of Morgan Stanley sales.
The Chancellor repeated his pre-election pledge to offer Lloyds shares to retail investors within the next 12 months.