US Treasury banks $12bn from Citi sale

 
Steve Dinneen
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THE US Treasury has banked an estimated $12bn (£7.6bn) profit on the sale of its stake in bailed-out Citigroup.

The government offloaded the remainder of its 27 per cent stake in the banking giant on Monday night, raking in $10.5bn from the sale of 2.4bn shares at $4.45 each.

It acquired the shares in 2008 for $3.25, netting a gain of around $6.85bn.

Including dividends, the share gain and proceeds from other securities, the stock sale raised the profit for taxpayers to $12bn.

Tim Massad, Treasury acting assistant secretary for financial stability, said: “By selling all the remaining Citigroup shares today, we had an opportunity to lock in substantial profits for the taxpayer and avoid future risk.”

The US Treasury invested a total of $45bn to bail out Citigroup during the financial crisis.

The successful sale will intensify calls for the UK government to consider selling its 84 per cent stake in RBS and 41 per cent stake in Lloyds.

If the UK government was to sell its stake in Lloyds today it would lose around £2bn. If it sold its RBS stake it would lose £8bn.

UKFI, the organisation that oversees the public stake in the banks, repeated that it is in no hurry to part with the assets and will instead attempt to maximise government returns.

But Execution analyst Joseph Dickerson said he believes it is time the government cut its ties with Lloyds.

He said: “There is no reason the government needs to be involved. Lloyds is still reliant on wholesale funding but this would normalise as the government stake comes down. Citi is a good barometer – its shares are up by 15 per cent in four days.”

“RBS is different – the government stake is higher and it is a far more complex case. I think we’re stuck with it for the long haul.”