British government reduces stake in bailed-out bank NatWest to below 40%
LONDON (AP) — The British government has sold a further stake in one of the banks that was bailed out at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, when the banking system was teetering on the edge of collapse.
In a statement Monday, the Treasury said it had sold shares in NatWest that are valued at 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6 billion). As a result of the latest sale, its stake in the bank has fallen below 40%.
“Today’s sale is another major milestone in returning NatWest to full private ownership as promised,” said Andrew Griffith, economic secretary to the Treasury. “The government has now sold well over half of its shareholding.”
Royal Bank of Scotland, as it was known then, was one of the biggest near-collapses during the financial crisis following years of rapid expansion that saw it become one of the world’s biggest banks.
As part of a series of bailouts, the Labour government at the time took a majority stake in the bank as it pumped in 46 billion pounds in order to keep it afloat.
“This transaction reduces government ownership below 40% and demonstrates positive progress on the bank’s strategic priorities and the path to privatization,” said NatWest chief executive officer Alison Rose.