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Government sells more shares in Lloyds Banking Group

By Graeme Evans

The sale of another tranche of shares in Lloyds Banking Group has taken the Government's stake in the lender to below 20%.

The latest disposal of around 1% of the group represents stock worth in the region of £500m and means the Treasury has now recouped more than half of the £20bn in bail-out funds committed in 2009.

The Government has reduced its stake by 5%, raising about £2.5bn as part of a trading plan launched in December.

Chancellor George Osborne wants a further £9bn of Lloyds shares to be sold over the next 12 months, including £4bn in a discounted offer to retail investors.

No shares have been sold below the price the Government paid for them, which was 73.6p.

A Lloyds spokesman said: "This announcement shows the further progress made in returning Lloyds Banking Group to full private ownership and enabling the taxpayer to get their money back.

"This reflects the hard work over the last four years to transform the group into a simple, low-risk and customer-focused bank that is committed to helping Britain prosper."

The stake is now 19.93%, compared with 40% in 2009.

Mr Osborne said: "These sales have only been made possible by our long-term economic plan."

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