Taxpayer out, Neil Woodford in: Government set to shed Lloyds stake this week as star fund manager buys shares

 
William Turvill
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Government Announce Lloyds Bank Share Sale Raising £3.2 Billion
Neil Woodford recently bought shares in Lloyds Banking Group (Source: Getty)

The government is due to sell-off the last of its stake in Lloyds Banking Group this week, nine years after its bail-out.

Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio revealed at the bank’s AGM last week that he expects the UK taxpayer to make a profit of at least £500m on the bail-out.

Read more: Government to make profit of at least £500m from Lloyds bailout

The government spent an estimated £20.3bn rescuing the group, to take a 43 per cent shareholding.

The stake has been chipped away at in recent months and stood at 0.25 per cent last week.

Meanwhile, Lloyds won some high-profile backing at the end of last week when it emerged that star fund manager Neil Woodford had bought £200m in shares of the bank.

“The investment in Lloyds bank is a bit of a milestone seeing as Neil Woodford hasn’t held banks in his portfolio since 2003, aside from a very brief flirtation with HSBC in 2014,” said Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf.

Read more: Former Conservative treasurer to chair Lloyds' non ring-fenced bank

“Selling out of banks was one of the big calls Neil Woodford made which protected investors from the worst ravages of the financial crisis, and reaffirmed his reputation as an outstanding fund manager.”

He added: “Of the UK listed big banks, Lloyds has made the most progress, and now looks like a safe stable bank with the potential to pay investors a handsome level of dividends. The bank is heavily plugged into the UK economy though, so any domestic shocks will take their toll.”

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