September 25, 2015 / 6:15 AM / 4 years ago

UK government sells more Lloyds shares, cuts stake to below 12 percent

A sign is seen outside a branch of Lloyds Bank in central London October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s government said on Friday it had recouped almost three-quarters of the taxpayer cash used in the 20.5 billion pound rescue of Lloyds Banking Group in 2008, after a fresh share sale pushed its stake to below 12 percent.

UK Financial Investments, which manages the government’s stakes in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, has reduced its holding in Lloyds to 11.98 percent, taking the total sum raised to 15 billion pounds ($22.84 billion) and bringing the bank closer to a target of full privatisation in 2016.

The proceeds from the latest share sale will be used to pay down public debt, HM Treasury said in a statement.

Lloyds needed to tap 20.5 billion pounds from the public purse to avert collapse at the peak of the financial crisis, which left the government with a 43 percent stake.

The finance ministry began selling off its stake in September 2013.

UKFI has sold almost 13 percent of the bank since appointing Morgan Stanley in December to execute a trading plan that seeks to sell the the government’s shares daily on the stock market.

Reporting By Sinead Cruise, editing by Carolyn Cohn

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