Government sells off more NatWest shares ahead of Hunt’s Tell Sid-style share sale plan


The government has sold 1.03 per cent of its shares in Natwest as it continues to quietly reduce its stake in the bank.

According to a stock exchange announcement, the Treasury reduced its stake from 37.97 per cent to 36.94 per cent.

It is unclear what price the shares were sold at. The stock closed at 220p on Tuesday. Natwest and the Treasury did not respond to a request for comment on details of the sale.

It follows a similar move at the beginning of December when the Treasury reduced its holdings in the bank from 38.53 per cent to 37.97 per cent.

The government acquired an 84 per cent stake in the lender, then known as Royal Bank of Scotland, during the financial crisis and has been trying to unwind the position ever since. The government plans to fully sell its shares by 2026.

However, the taxpayer has lost out as the bank’s shares have tumbled far below the 499p price paid by the government.

The stock fell below 200p in October and November as the bank’s public image suffered from the fallout of a row with former Ukip leader Nigel Farage over the closure of his Coutts account.

Chief executive Dame Alison Rose resigned in July after she admitted to discussing the Brexiteer’s Coutts account with the BBC.

The scandal prompted a wide-ranging inquiry into “debanking” by the City watchdog, as well as a surge in complaints over the issue.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said that the government is looking at a Tell Sid-style share sale plan for Natwest, offering its stake to retail investors.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “This update shows that our ongoing trading plan continues to make progress towards the government’s objective to return its shareholding in Natwest to private ownership in a way that represents value for money to taxpayers.”