The Treasury has sold a stake worth £1.1bn in NatWest back to the bank.
The taxpayers’ holding in NatWest has decreased from 61.7% to 59.8% after it sold 591 million shares back to the bank at 190.5p a share in an off-market deal authorised by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and managed by UK Government Investments (UKGI).
The bank, formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland, was bailed out during the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
The move is the third time the Treasury has sold shares in the bank after the Government put in £45.8bn for an 82% stake.
The deal sees NatWest buy back 591 million shares from the Government, leaving its current stake worth £13bn on current share prices.
The share sale also triggers NatWest to contribute £500m to its main pension scheme.
According to the latest estimates from the Office for Budget Responsibility, (OBR) of the £45.8bn spent to prop up the bank during the crisis, the taxpayer is expected to make a loss of £38.8bn.
Last year, just as the coronavirus crisis struck the UK, the Treasury pushed back a deadline to sell the entire stake by a year, to March 2025, as a global sell-off saw stock markets around the globe collapse.
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The Treasury also missed out on a dividend payment last year, due to regulators banning payouts by financial institutions during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
NatWest subsequently declared a dividend in 2021 of 3p a share, handing £225 million to the Government as the biggest shareholder.
The Government sold shares in RBS twice since 2008, with the last in 2018 by reducing its stake by 7.7% at 271p a share.
A previous 5.4% stake in the bank was sold in 2015 at 330p a share.