Britain sells 1.0% stake of Lloyds bank for £500m

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Britain has sold a 1.0-percent stake in state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group for £500 million ($769 million, 677 million euros) under plans to return it to private ownership, the government said Monday.

The Treasury announced in a statement that the sale has trimmed the government’s stake from 24.9 percent to just under 24 percent.

Britain still owns a large chunk of Lloyds after bailing it out with £20 billion of taxpayers’ cash at the height of the 2008 global financial crisis.

The government initially took a 39-percent share of Lloyds and has so far raised almost £8.0 billion selling bits of its holding.

Finance minister George Osborne had already revealed a six-month plan in December to reduce the stake.

“I am delighted to announce today that the trading plan I launched in December has raised a further £500 million for the taxpayer so far,” Osborne said Monday.

“This is further progress in returning Lloyds Banking Group to private ownership, reducing our national debt and getting taxpayers’ money back.

“The trading plan and its success are only made possible by our long term economic plan which is delivering a more secure and resilient economy.”

The latest shares were sold above the average price that the previous government had paid for them, which was 73.6 pence.

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