Government extends plan to sell taxpayer stake in NatWest

The Treasury said it has pushed the completion date for selling shares in the lender by a year to August 2023.


The Government is extending its plan to sell off more of its stake in lender NatWest for another year.

The Treasury confirmed on Wednesday that UK Government Investments, the body which oversees state-backed holdings, will end its plan by August 11, 2023 at the latest.

It has sought to place more of the bank in private hands after the lender, when it was previously known as Royal Bank of Scotland, was bailed out at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

Stake disposals started last year and had been due to complete by this August.

The Government’s stake in NatWest Group currently stands at around £11.3 billion.

So far, the state has sold 703.5 million shares, raising approximately £1.6 billion, to take its shareholding to around 48.5% of the banking giant.

However, the Treasury said it will only sell its stake further “when it represents value for money to do so and market conditions allow”.

Shares in NatWest are around 10% lower than levels from February, before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia impacted global stocks.

In March, NatWest confirmed it was primarily owned by private investors in a major milestone for the recovery of the business.

A Government statement added: “Her Majesty’s Treasury and UK Government Investments continue to keep all options and timings under review for future sales.

“Extending the trading plan does not preclude Government from using other options to execute future transactions that achieve value for money for taxpayers, including further directed buybacks and/or accelerated bookbuilds.”

The banking firm saw it shares rise by 3.8% to 229.8p in early trading on Wednesday.

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