The Government has said it will sell off the final taypayer-owned stake in Lloyds Bank by the end of the financial year. The Treasury said the remaining 9.2 per cent stake owned by the public would go on sale by March 2017. Chancellor George Osborne was meant to press ahead with the share sale to the public in the spring, but decided to postpone it because of "turmoil in financial markets". So far only institutional investors have been able to buy the shares.
Selling the shares at that time would have incurred major losses after Lloyds' share value dropped from 78p in October 2015 to 64p by the beginning of 2016. The shares are currently trading at about 67p. The share sale announcement came as the Treasury received another £130m in dividends from Lloyds, bringing the total amount recouped in dividends to £318m. This is still far short of the £20bn it cost taxpayers to bail out Lloyds in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. At its peak, the Treasury owned 43 per cent of the bank.
But the divident payment was described as a milestone by Harriett Baldwin, the economic secretary to the Treasury. “The £130m we've received today marks another milestone in Government's plan to recover the money taxpayers were forced to put into Lloyds during the financial crisis,” she said. “The Government has already recovered over 80 per cent of its original investment in Lloyds and today's dividend payment takes the amount we've recovered from the bank to over £16.8bn.”
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