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UK plans 1980s’ style sale of Lloyds shares to Britons

UK plans 1980s’ style sale of Lloyds shares to Britons

LONDON: Britain will launch a sale of shares in Lloyds to private retail investors in the next 12 months in what is expected to be the biggest privatisation since Margaret Tha­tcher’s government sold off assets in the 1980s.

It has also extended a facility enabling it to sell more shares in the bank to financial institutions as it disposes of its remaining stake of less than 19 per cent in the bailed-out lender, worth about 12 billion pounds ($18bn).

As well as raising money for the state, the 1980s sales aimed to encourage ordinary Britons to invest in companies, an aspiration shared by the current Conservative government.

Thatcher’s Conservative government sold 3.9bn pounds of shares in British Telecom and 5.6bn pounds worth of British Gas shares in deals that gave many Britons their first taste of the stock market.

Lloyds was bailed out at a cost to taxpayers of 20bn pounds during the 2007-9 financial crisis, leaving the government initially holding a 41pc stake in the bank.

UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which manages the government’s stakes in bailed-out banks, has extended a ‘trading plan’ that allows Morgan Stanley to sell Lloyds shares beyond its current June 30 deadline until the end of the year.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2015

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