Lloyds’ chairman has suggested the Government’s entire remaining stake in the bank could be sold off within a year, reports The Telegraph.
Lord Blackwell said at the bank’s annual meeting in Edinburgh that it was “possible” and “desirable” that Lloyds would be released from taxpayers’ hands within the next 12 months.
The Treasury has been steadily selling off its shares in Lloyds in recent months, but six and a half years after the bank was bailed out, it retains a stake of just under 20 per cent.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, has promised a sale of up to £3bn in Lloyds shares to the public within the next 12 months, and plans to sell £9bn of shares overall.
However, Lord Blackwell said that if market conditions are right, the Treasury could sell its entire remaining stake, which is worth about £12.5bn at current market prices.
“It would be very desirable if the government can achieve that,” he said. “It would obviously depend on the market conditions.”
He said the Government may continue its current sell-off plan, which sees shares gradually sold to the market via brokers, and is due to expire at the end of next month.
At the annual meeting on Thursday, Lloyds saw little shareholder disquiet over the pay of directors including the bank’s chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.
Just 2.3 per cent of votes cast were in opposition to bosses’ pay, despite a shareholder body calling for investors to reject it.