The taxpayers’ stake in Lloyds Banking Group has been cut from 5% to just 3.5% with a further sale of shares on the market announced by the Treasury this morning.
Lloyds, which owns Bank of Scotland, is now poised to be free of any state holding within months. The Government took a 43% holding in the bank in 2009 when it provided a £20.5 billion bail-out following its disastrous merger with HBOS.
The bank reported a sharp rise in profits yesterday, following weak results from HSBC which unveiled a 62% slump in profits on Monday. This morning Barclays has reported a rise in profits after its restructuring plans showed strong progress.
The bank reported a profit before tax of £3.2bn for 2016 against £1.1bn the year before.
Barclays has also been selling off other parts of the business which the bank deems “non-core”, including its Africa business.
Barclays has cut the its pay outs in customer redress from £2.7bn to £1bn.
Chief executive Jes Staley said: “A year ago we laid out our intention to accelerate the restructuring of Barclays and refocus our business as a transatlantic, consumer, corporate and investment bank, anchored in London and New York. We have made strong progress against this agenda in 2016.”
A final dividend for 2016 of 2p per share is recommended and will be paid on 5 April, resulting in a total 3p dividend per share for the year.