LONDON – The British government has scrapped plans for a retail sale of its remaining 3.6 billion pound ($4.4 billion) stake in part-nationalized Lloyds Banking Group, opting for a trading plan to institutional investors.
Lloyds was bailed out with 20 billion pounds from British taxpayers during the 2008 global financial crisis. Since then, the government has been gradually selling off its share.
Treasury chief Philip Hammond says "returning Lloyds to the private sector is in the interests of the bank, taxpayers and the country as a whole." But he says financial market volatility means a retail offer is not the best option.
Speaking Friday in Washington, Hammond promised to sell the 9.1 percent stake "in an orderly way, and at the best possible price."
Lloyds shares fell 4 percent after the announcement.