UK government to sell off another 7.7% of RBS bank

Sale of €3bn in shares is first in three years and comes after US settlement

The sale of 925 million shares will reduce the government’s holding to 62.4 per cent from 70.1 per cent.  Photograph: Tolga Akmen / AFP / Getty Images

The sale of 925 million shares will reduce the government’s holding to 62.4 per cent from 70.1 per cent. Photograph: Tolga Akmen / AFP / Getty Images

 

The British government plans to sell about £2.6 billion (€3 billion) of Royal Bank of Scotland Group shares that it has owned since bailing out the lender a decade ago during the financial crisis.

The 7.7 per cent divestment is the first since 2015 and comes after the Edinburgh-based bank reached a preliminary settlement with US authorities over the sale of toxic mortgage bonds, which had been weighing on the firm’s valuation.

A final price of the shares will be decided in a sale to institutional investors via a so-called accelerated bookbuilding process, the government said in a statement on Monday.

Financial crisis

The sale of 925 million shares will reduce the government’s holding to 62.4 per cent from 70.1 per cent, according to the statement.

During the financial crisis, the UK government injected £45.5 billion into RBS, then the biggest banking bailout in the world.

The UK has hired four US-based banks to sell the shares: Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.

The government’s last sale of RBS stock was in August 2015, when George Osborne was Britain’s finance minister.

– Bloomberg