Taxpayers left with £10bn loss on RBS stake

RBS building

Taxpayers were left with a £10bn loss on their stake in Royal Bank of Scotland shares at the end of 2014.

The 79% shareholding in RBS was bought at an average of 502p a share, well above the 394p at which the shares ended the year.

In contrast, shares in Lloyds Banking Group ended at 75.8p, above the average price of 73.6p at which the government bailed out the bank six years ago. The taxpayer owns 24% of the bank but that stake could fall to 20% in the next six months under a plan announced by George Osborne three weeks ago to sell off further shares.

The chancellor, who has backed away from offering the stock to retail investors, has committed not to sell off any of the remaining shares for less than 73.6p each. Two chunks of shares have been sold in the past: in September 2013 when £3.2bn-worth was sold at 75p each and in March 2014 when a further £4.2bn was sold at 75.5p. Those two share sales reduced the taxpayer stake in Lloyds from 43%.

Although higher than the bailout price, Lloyds shares ended the year at a lower level than at the end of 2013, when they traded at 78.8p, while RBS shares are higher than the 338p at which they ended 2013 – representing a £14.5bn loss for taxpayers on the bailout.

Powered by article was written by Jill Treanor, for The Guardian on Wednesday 31st December 2014 19.12 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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