The Treasury has pushed back its deadline to sell a chunk of its remaining shares in Natwest by another two years after the lender’s share price slumped last month amid the recent turmoil in the banking sector.
The government will now have until 11 August 2025 to gradually sell up to 15 per cent of its holding in the bank. It was originally scheduled to offload the tranche of shares by August.
UK Government Investments (UKGI), the body that oversees the government’s stake, said the shares will only be sold at a price the Treasury decides “represents fair value and delivers value for money for the taxpayer”.
UKGI also said it will keep other disposal options under active consideration, such as buybacks, but only if they achieve value for taxpayers.
The government currently owns around 3.98m shares in the company, about 41.5 per cent of total shareholding.
Its stake is a remnant from its £46bn bailout of what was then the Royal Bank of Scotland in the financial crisis. Since 2015, it has been trying to reduce its stake by slowly selling its shares into the market.
Last year Natwest became majority-privately owned again after Natwest bought back a bunch of shares in both 2021 and 2022. The government hopes to dispose of its stake entirely by 2026.
The government has recouped £3.7bn so far from selling its shares, but taxpayers have faced a significant loss on the bailout with Natwest’s share price nearly halving since the bailout.
The shares were valued at 500p when UKGI bought shares in RBS. Shares in Natwest are now trading at around 266p per share.
While the government did not mention recent turmoil in the banking sector, Natwest’s share price slipped 9.3 per cent in March alone.