UK Financial Investments, which manages the government’s 43.5 per cent stake in Lloyds Banking Group and 70 per cent stake in Royal Bank of Scotland, last night confirmed it was sounding out options over the sale of its stakes in the part-nationalised banks.
UKFI is believed to have contacted a number of parties including mainstream UK institutional investors and foreign institutions, such as sovereign wealth funds, although a deal is not imminent.
The government, which bought its stake in RBS at 65.5p and in Lloyds at 173.3p, is believed to be reluctant to sell chunks of its shareholding until it can do so at a profit. Yesterday RBS shares closed at 41.3p, while Lloyds shares closed at 98p.
UK Financial Investments is likely to exit its stakes in tranches over a period of time, potentially taking up to six years to sell them completely.
Yesterday bailed-out Lloyds unveiled a £4bn fundraising, a day after Sir Victor Blank stepped down as chairman.
Blank’s departure leaves the future of the bank’s chief executive, Eric Daniels, in doubt.