Shareholders back Lloyds in cash call

LLOYDS Banking Group has hailed its £13.5bn rights issue as a success after shareholders took up more than 95 per cent of the shares on offer.

The move came after a rights issue in June last year saw 13 per cent of shares on offer ignored by investors.

The latest issue was part of a £22.5bn plan to strengthen the bank’s balance sheet. Analysts had predicted a 90 per cent take up of the shares at Lloyds, which is 43 per cent taxpayer-owned.

Lloyds offered shareholders the chance to buy 1.34 new shares for each existing share at 37p.
The average private shareholder holds 740 shares and was asked to pay £336.67 to maintain their stake.

Mike Trippitt, an analyst at Oriel Securities, said: “This has drawn a line under the capital issue. They have a solid capital position, a strong balance sheet. The spotlight now will be on the operating performance”.

Co-ordinators of the deal Bank of America Merrill Lynch, UBS and Citigroup will now seek to offload the remaining shares.

The rights issue is part of Lloyds’ plan to raise £22.5bn to help it avoid further participation in the government’s asset protection scheme.

Chief executive Eric Daniels said: “I would like to thank our shareholders for their considerable support” and said the bank would support the economy by lending.

The issue was announced alongside an offer to exchange some debts for a contingent convertible or “CoCo” bond which will convert to shares if the bank’s capital levels become depleted.