The government has begun the process of returning Lloyds Banking Group to the private sector. It sold 6% of its 39% stake in the bank to institutional investors this week, raising £3.2bn. It sold the shares at 75p, thus making a small profit for the taxpayer. The previous government bought its stake at 73.6p. Retail investors will be invited to buy shares when the next tranches are sold.
What the commentators said
Lloyds is a largely domestic bank and thus highly geared to the British recovery, added Ian King in The Times. This sale underscores its recovery under chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio. It has cleaned up its balance sheet and beefed up its capital enough to start paying dividends again. Half-year earnings were ahead of forecasts. "The Black Horse has shaken off its past."
All this helps explain why the share price has almost doubled in the past year, thus racing ahead of its peers. It looks "fully valued" on 1.4 times book value, said Lex in the FT, so the sale looks well timed. Lloyds may be the flavour of the month now, said Jonathan Guthrie, also in the FT, but keep in mind its exposure to residential mortgages, a sector boosted by the government's efforts to revive the housing boom. "It could all still end messily." This sale may mark the end of a crisis, but "it portends another".
King Charles banknotes to enter circulation in June
New banknotes featuring the King will enter circulation on 5 June – here’s what they will look like and what you need to know about your old notes.
By Katie Williams Published
Metro Bank to slash 5.22% savings rate for current customers- what’s the next best alternative?
Metro Bank is set to cut the rate on its best buy instant access saver for existing customers. Is there an alternative on the market and should you switch now?
By Vaishali Varu Published