Britain’s state-rescued Lloyds bank back in private hands


Britain's state-rescued Lloyds bank back in private hands

British bank Lloyds, bailed-out by the UK government at the height of the financial crisis, said Wednesday that it had returned to full private ownership.

“Lloyds Banking Group has… notified the market that the government’s stake in the group has been reduced to zero; as such, the group has returned to full private ownership,” it said in a statement.

The government had been steadily offloading its stake as LBG recovered, resulting in £21.2 billion ($27.4 billion, 24.6 billion euros) returning to the taxpayer.

This is £894 million more than the government’s initial investment, including more £400 million in dividend payouts, Lloyds said Wednesday.

“Today the government has sold its last shares in Lloyds Banking Group, receiving more money than was originally invested,” said LBG chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.

Thanks to the hard work of everyone at Lloyds, we’ve turned the group around.”

The British government bailed out Lloyds following the 2008 world financial crisis at a cost of £20.3 billion, handing the state a 43-percent stake in the bank.

The government still owns 73 percent of Royal Bank of Scotland, which was rescued with £45.5 billion of taxpayers’ cash during the crisis in the world’s biggest bank bailout.

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Story By AFP
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