On Friday, the U.K. government announced that it will restart selling shares of Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON: LLOY) to public to return the bank to private ownership in the following 12 months.
The U.K. government currently hold around 6.5 billion shares of Lloyds, which represents 9.1% of Lloyds Banking Group following a bailout in 2009. The government planned to sell its 3.6 billion pound, which was $4.5 billion shares this time.
Instead of selling shares by retail offering, the government planned to slowly sell the shares over next 12 months by Morgan Stanley. The shares will be sold in increments to investors, and the first sales may be in the coming few days. “I have listened to the experts. Ongoing market volatility means it is not the right time for a retail offer,” Philip Hammond, the U.K. Chancellor, said in a statement.
“Returning Lloyds to the private sector is in the interests of the bank, taxpayers and the country as a whole. That is why exiting our stake in Lloyds in an orderly way and at the best possible price is one of my top priorities,” Hammondsaid in a statement.
Currently, the shares of Lloyds were trading below the 73.6 pence average price, which is the amount government paid in the bailout in 2009. According to the official data from Lloyds and government, taxpayers have already received 16.9 billion pound since 2009, and the government remained 3.4 billion pounds to break even.
In addition to the shares of Lloyds, the government also hold 72% stake of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. Hammond has no plan to sell RBS’s shares now.