UK moves closer to NatWest retail share offer

The UK government is accelerating plans to sell shares in NatWest Group (LSE: NWG) directly to retail investors, potentially as early as June.

UK Government Investments, which manages the state’s remaining NatWest stake, said it is currently developing options for the share offer alongside legal, retail and privatisation advisers. The company’s chief executive, Holger Vieten, told MPs “we are looking at various options” but stressed no exact timeline is set. However, he agreed a retail offer could materialize this summer at the “very earliest,” indicating June is the current target.

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The share sale would advance the government’s goal of fully divesting its less than 35% shareholding, valued around £7 billion, by 2025-26. With NatWest still lacking a permanent CEO since Alison Rose’s July resignation, UKGI said the bank must provide leadership clarity to inspire market confidence ahead of any retail offer.

NatWest shares closed 1.3% higher at 220.00 pence on Tuesday afternoon. The stock is down 26.5% over the past 12 months.