The UK government has announced plans to cut its majority shareholding in NatWest (LON:NWG).
The Treasury said this morning it has instructed Morgan Stanley to sell NatWest shares on its behalf over the next 12 months, with sales starting next month and ending in August 2022.
The sale is capped at 15% of the traded volume of NatWest shares, and the Treasury insists they will only be sold at a price that represents “value for money for taxpayers”.
The British government still owns just under 55% of NatWest after it bailed out the lender in 2008 after the financial crisis to prevent the collapse of the banking system.
The UK paid an average of 502p per share when it rescued the bank. NatWest shares have rallied since the start of the year. But they are still far below the 502p level of the 2008 taxpayer rescue package, and the recouping of the cost of the bailout remains unlikely.
In May this year, the government sold around £1.1bn of NatWest shares.
NatWest Chief Exec Alison Rose welcomed the government’s plan and said it showed the bank was on a better footing.
The announcement made this morning sent Natwest shares below 200p and are currently trading at 194.40p.
But so far this year, Natwest shares are up over 17%, supported by the recovery from the pandemic.