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Taxpayer no longer has controlling stake in NatWest

The British government is no longer the controlling shareholder in NatWest bank, reducing its stake in the lender to below 30%.

NatWest received several multibillion-pound bailouts at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, resulting in the government being left with an 84% stake in what was then known as RBS Group.

A stock exchange announcement on Monday confirmed the Treasury’s stake in the bank, which also owns Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Coutts, is now 29.82%.

The reduction – a little over one percentage point – leaves the government with a stake worth just under £7bn.

The government had been slowly selling down its stake but it accelerated the process in recent months.

In 2018 it owned 62% of the group.

It fell to 45.9% at the end of 2022, and 37.98% by the end of last year.

The government said last year it aimed to sell all its interest in the bank by 2025 or 2026 – but would only sell its remaining shares when it represented value for money to do so.

Economic secretary to the Treasury Bim Afolami said: “This is a significant milestone demonstrating we’re making excellent progress on fully returning NatWest to private ownership.

“In addition to our successful trading plan, we are now looking ahead to a retail offering of NatWest shares which could come as soon as this summer, subject to market conditions and value for money.”

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NatWest said: “We welcome the government’s continued commitment to returning NatWest Group to private ownership.

“With the government shareholding now below 30%, we have been pleased with the recent momentum to achieving this shared ambition, which we believe is in the best interests of the bank and our shareholders.”

Sky News Source