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UK government divests 7.7% stake in RBS for £2.5bn

BBR Staff Writer Published 05 June 2018

The UK Government has sold a 7.7% stake in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for £2.5bn to return the bank to full private ownership.

Via UK Financial Investments (UKGI), the government has divested 925 million shares at 271 pence per share, reducing its interest from 70.1% to around 62.4%.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said: "This sale represents a significant step in returning RBS to full private ownership and putting the financial crisis behind us. The government should not be in the business of owning banks.

“The proceeds of this sale will go towards reducing our national debt - this is the right thing to do for taxpayers as we build an economy that is fit for the future.”

Citigroup Global Markets, Goldman Sachs International, J.P. Morgan Securities and Morgan Stanley & Co. International served as joint bookrunners in connection with the deal.

In 2015, the UK government announced plans to divest its share in the RBS.

The government had invested around £45.5bn after the financial crisis, post acquisition of Dutch banking group ABN Amro, which nearly led to the collapse of the bank.

In 2016, the government again shelved plans to sell stakes in RBSand Lloyds Banking Group, following the Brexit vote.

The Treasury had planned to raise £9bn ($11.9bn) through selling its stake in the banks to fund managers and to the public at a discounted price.

Share prices of both banks have dropped sharply in the wake of the Brexit vote that resulted in heavy selling on the stock exchanges.

Through various brands, RBS offers a range of products and services to personal, commercial and large corporate and institutional customers.

Its brands includes NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, Coutts, Adam & Company, Child & Co., Drummonds, Holt's, Isle of Man Bank, Lombard, RBS International and NatWest Markets.

Image: The UK government has sold 7.7% stake in Royal Bank of Scotland. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.