Lloyds Bank on track for private ownership by 2016

Britain’s chancellor George Osborne said yesterday he hoped the sale of the UK government’s shares in Lloyds Banking Group will be completed within a year.

“My view is that we want the government out of the banking system in the UK,” Osborne told reporters during a visit to Helsinki.

“I hope that (Lloyds) will be complete within the year.”

The sale of shares in Royal Bank of Scotland, another bank rescued by the British government during the financial crisis, would take longer, he said.

Earlier yesterday, the British government said it had reduced its holding in Lloyds to below 13% after a latest sale of shares to institutional investors.

That move took the bank closer to full privatisation after needing a state rescue in the 2008/09 financial crisis.

UK Financial Investments, which manages the British government’s stakes in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, has reduced its holding to 12.97%, Lloyds said yesterday.

Lloyds needed £20.5bn of British taxpayers’ cash to avert collapse at the peak of the financial crisis, leaving the country’s government with a 43% stake.

The country’s finance ministry began selling off its stake in September 2013 and Lloyds is on track to return to full private ownership in 2016.


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