Business World

Thursday 19 October 2017

Government ready to sell off Lloyds and RBS shares, says Osborne

George Osborne
George Osborne

Matt Scuffham

Britain has kicked off the process of appointing advisers for a sale of its shares in Lloyds and Ulster Bank parent Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), asking investment banks to submit proposals by July 8.

UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which manages the government's stakes in the banks, is looking to appoint bookrunners, co-lead managers, capital markets advisers and strategic advisers.

UK finance minister George Osborne  said in his annual speech to financiers in London last week that the government was ready to start selling its shares in Lloyds.

2008 CRISIS

The UK government is keen to show that Britain's part-nationalised banks are recovering from the 2008 financial crisis and a profitable sale of part of its 39pc stake in Lloyds would allow it to claim at least partial success ahead of the next election in 2015.

Shares in Lloyds rose 2pc on Friday to hit their highest level for over two years, trading comfortably above the 61.2p level which the government regards as its break-even.

Expectations of an imminent sale of Lloyds shares have intensified since they hit the break-even price in May.

Industry sources have said Britain's finance ministry wants the shares to be trading consistently above that level before it starts selling.

The sources say a sale of up to 10pc of Lloyds shares could happen as early as this year.

However, a sale of the government's 81pc stake in RBS is still a long way off and the Treasury is examining the merits of breaking up the bank.

In an 'Invitation to Tender' document on UKFI's website, banks are asked to register their interest by July 1 and to submit their full proposals by July 8.

Irish Independent

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