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Lloyds looks a better horse to back in the bank reprivatisation race

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It had all the hallmarks of a well-orchestrated bit of kite flying.

 

First, the Chancellor’s favourite think tank, Policy Exchange, suggested a mass distribution of RBS shares to the public – offered free upfront. Hours later, the Prime Minister called for progress on reprivatisation of RBS to be made as quickly as possible and did not rule out selling the bank for a loss. “I’m open to all ideas and proposals,” he said with a metaphorical nudge and a wink. The Government’s current obsession with the fate of RBS is a bit of a mystery, the fact that taxpayers own 81pc of its shares notwithstanding.

 

After all, Lloyds Banking Group, which is 31pc owned by the taxpayer, looks a much better candidate for a relinquishing of the Government’s stake, given it has far fewer issues to contend with than its troubled rival. This was highlighted again on Thursday when comments from chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio about the likelihood of a full-year profit caused the lender’s shares to rise to within a hair’s breadth of their break-even price. With Lloyds shares trading above 60p for the first time since March 2011, the bank’s market value was on Thursday less than 1p off the 61.2p minimum threshold for a sale. By way of comparison, RBS shares have been hovering around 300p for some time, putting it about 100p below the assumed minimum price for any sale.

 

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/telegraph-view/10062903/Lloyds-looks-a-better-horse-to-back-in-the-bank-reprivatisation-race.html


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