Lloyds closer to full private ownership

Lloyds Banking Group, Trinity Road, Halifax.
Lloyds Banking Group, Trinity Road, Halifax.

The taxpayer’s stake in Lloyds Banking Group has been cut to below three per cent as the Government continues to sell down its shareholding.

UK Financial Investments, which manages the stake in Lloyds, cut its holding by around one per cent to 2.95 per cent, seeing the bank edge another step closer to full private

ownership.

The sale means more than £19.5bn has now been returned to Government coffers since the lender’s £20.3bn bailout at the height of the financial crisis.

This includes around £500m in payouts to shareholders since the bank - which employs 6,000 staff in Calderdale - resumed paying dividends in 2014 as it has returned to profit growth in recent years.

Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said: “Today’s announcement moves Lloyds another step closer to full private ownership.

“We are pleased that the group’s strong financial performance has kept us on track to return more money to taxpayers than was put in.”

The stake sale is the latest in a series by the Government, which said in October that it hoped to offload its remaining shares in Lloyds within a year, with the City expecting Lloyds to return to full private ownership by June.

The Government has progressively sold down its original 43 per cent stake and Chancellor Philip Hammond scrapped plans for a share sale to the public in October, opting instead to offload the holding to institutional investors.

Lloyds Banking Group was formed following the merge of Lloyds Bank and HBOS - which had huge corporate centres in Trinity Road, Halifax, and the Copley Data Centre at Wakefield Road, Copley.