Lloyds ‘free of Government ownership’ for first time since 2008

The Government has owned a stake in the bank since saving it from collapse in 2008 

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The Independent Online

The UK Government reportedly sold off its last remaining stake in Lloyds Banking Group in late trading on Tuesday, meaning that the lender is now free from state ownership for the first time in almost a decade.

Citing city sources, Sky News reported that UK Financial Investments Limited, the arm of the Government which had been managing the holding on behalf of the Treasury, would announce the sale of its last remaining shares on Wednesday morning.

The final sale would mark a milestone for Lloyds.

The Government has owned a stake in the bank since saving it from collapse in 2008 and has steadily been reducing that more than 40 per cent share since 2013.

Last week, Lloyds’ Chairman told shareholders at the lender's annual meeting in Edinburgh that the stake was down to just 0.25 per cent.

Shares in Lloyds are currently trading below the £73.6p average purchase price by the Government but the disposal programme will nonetheless reportedly have netted the taxpayers a profit of approximately £500m on the £20.3bn bailout. That’s because of dividends paid by the bank, the fact that most of the shares were sold for more than the government paid, and a £2.5bn fee Lloyds paid to avoid entering the Asset Protection Scheme that insured bailed-out banks' riskiest loans.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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