Lloyds privatisation: 62,500 register for Lloyds shares on first day

 
Emma Haslett
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The government now owns just under 12 per cent of the bank (Source: Getty)

It turns out George Osborne's announcement yesterday that the government will make "at least" £2bn of Lloyds shares available sent retail investors into a frenzy: 62,500 have registered their intention to buy shares in the bank, Treasury sources have suggested.

In contrast to the Royal Mail privatisation in 2013, where institutional investors were prioritised, yesterday the chancellor said those applying to invest less than £1,000 will be prioritised.

Investors will receive a bonus share for every 10 shares for those who hold their investment for more than a year - although that will be capped at £200 per investor.

The government currently owns just under 12 per cent of the bank, having reduced its stake from 43 per cent in dribs and drabs over the past couple of years.

Yesterday Osborne confirmed the government intends to "fully exit" the bank in the coming months, echoing a Treasury statement last month, which said the government's trading plan will "end no later than 31 December 2015".

The sale has been likened to the 1986 "Tell Sid" government privatisation of British Gas, in which retail investors were urged to buy shares in the company via a massive advertising campaign.

In a speech to the Conservative Party conference yesterday, Osborne paid tribute to Margaret Thatcher, who pioneered the Tell Sid campaign.

"We will help to create that shareholder democracy in this country... members of the public, small investors, people who are going to have a chance to get something back having put all that money in under the last government."

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