U.K. Cuts Lloyds Stake Below 12% Even as Stock Price Dropped

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The British government sold another 1 percent stake in Lloyds Banking Group Plc in the past month, pushing its holding below 12 percent as the bank’s shares hovered near the state’s minimum disposal price.

The government owned about 8.55 billion shares as of Thursday, down from 9.28 billion shares in its last filing on Aug. 24, the bank said in a statement Friday.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is seeking to return Lloyds to full private ownership after the government spent 20.5 billion pounds rescuing the lender during the financial crisis of 2008. The Treasury said it has raised 15 billion pounds ($22.9 billion) selling Lloyds stock.

Under the current year-long trading plan due to end in December, U.K. Financial Investments Ltd. has been selling small batches of shares to investors and reducing its holding from 25 percent.

The Treasury has said it won’t sell shares if they dip below 73.6 pence, the value it assigns to the bailout price. Lloyds shares have dipped below that level several times this week amid a global stock slump, and closed yesterday at 73.84 pence.

The shares rose as much as 1.3 percent to 74.79 pence as of 8:15 a.m. in London.

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