The government has sold more shares in Lloyds Banking Group, bringing its holding below the five per cent threshold.
UK Financial Investments, which manages the government's stake in the bank, said today it now owns 4.998 per cent of the group. Shares in the bank dipped 1.4 per cent at the open.
Until a few weeks ago, the government was Lloyds' largest shareholder. It's previously been reported the state could be rid of its entire holding by spring this year.
The government bailed Lloyds out to the tune of £20.5bn in the wake of the financial crisis, leaving it with a 43 per cent stake in the bank.
"Since our decision to sell the government's stake in Lloyds we have recovered over 90 per cent of the money taxpayers injected into the bank during the financial crisis," said Simon Kirby, economic secretary to the Treasury.
"This represents real progress and I am delighted that we are on track to return Lloyds to private ownership."