Government stake in NatWest now under 30%

Government stake in NatWest now under 30%
  • PublishedMarch 26, 2024

The government’s stake in NatWest Group has dropped to below 30% for the first time since the bank was nationalised during the 2008 financial crisis.

The British government is no longer the controlling shareholder in NatWest bank, reducing its stake in the lender to below 30%.

NatWest received several multibillion-pound bailouts at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, resulting in the government being left with an 84% stake in what was then known as RBS Group.

A stock exchange announcement on Monday confirmed the Treasury’s stake in the bank, which also owns Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Coutts, is now 29.82%.

The reduction – a little over one percentage point – leaves the government with a stake worth just under £7bn.

The government had been slowly selling down its stake but it accelerated the process in recent months.

In 2018 it owned 62% of the group.

It fell to 45.9% at the end of 2022, and 37.98% by the end of last year.

The government said last year it aimed to sell all its interest in the bank by 2025 or 2026 – but would only sell its remaining shares when it represented value for money to do so.

Economic secretary to the Treasury Bim Afolami said: “This is a significant milestone demonstrating we’re making excellent progress on fully returning NatWest to private ownership.

“In addition to our successful trading plan, we are now looking ahead to a retail offering of NatWest shares which could come as soon as this summer, subject to market conditions and value for money.”

NatWest said: “We welcome the government’s continued commitment to returning NatWest Group to private ownership.

“With the government shareholding now below 30%, we have been pleased with the recent momentum to achieving this shared ambition, which we believe is in the best interests of the bank and our shareholders.”


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