The British government is no longer the biggest shareholder in state-rescued Lloyds bank, after selling another tranche of shares, the two sides announced Monday.
“The plan to return Lloyds Banking Group to the private sector passed a significant milestone today when it was confirmed that the government is no longer the largest shareholder,” the Treasury said in a statement.
“The latest share sales… have reduced the government’s remaining shareholding to less than 6.0 percent and below the level of the next largest shareholder.”
The announcement means that US fund manager BlackRock is now the bank’s single biggest stakeholder.
Britain’s government rescued Lloyds with £20 billion of taxpayers’ money at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008.
The government has since gradually sold down its original 43-percent stake in the bank and the Treasury on Monday said it had recouped more than £18.0 billion ($22.1 billion, 21 billion euros) from share sales.
“Returning Lloyds to the private sector and recovering all of the cash the taxpayer injected into the bank during the financial crisis is a priority for the government,” said finance minister Philip Hammond.
Last month, Lloyds bought Bank of America’s UK credit card division MBNA for £1.9 billion in the first acquisition since its government bailout.
Lloyds Banking Group was created by a merger of Lloyds TSB and rival British lender HBOS.
However, HBOS was saddled with toxic property investments, and LBG subsequently received the vast bailout.
© 1994-2017 Agence France-Presse