Government reduces Lloyds shares ahead of sell-off

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The Government has reduced its stake in Lloyds Banking Group by another one per cent, cutting its total interest in the bailed-out lender to below 11 per cent.

UK Financial Investments, which manages the Government’s stakes in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), has now recouped £15.5bn of the £20.5bn pounds of taxpayer cash required to rescue Lloyds during Britain’s banking crisis in 2008, Lloyds said in a statement.

News of the latest share sale comes in the same week that HM Treasury said it would sell at least £2bn worth of Lloyds shares to private retail investors in spring 2016 to return the bank to full private ownership.

The sale is set to be the biggest privatisation in Britain since the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher’s government sold £3.9bn worth of shares in British Telecom and £5.6bn worth of British Gas shares.

The finance ministry began selling off its 43 per cent stake in September 2013.

UKFI has sold 14 per cent of the bank since appointing Morgan Stanley in December to execute a trading plan that seeks to sell the Government’s shares daily on the stock market.