Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed it has been fully returned to private hands nearly nine years after the Government bailed it out at the height of the financial crisis.
The Government's final tranche of 638.4 million Lloyds shares have been sold, marking a milestone for the lender and closing a troubled chapter for the group.
Lloyds said the taxpayer had made a profit of £894m on the original £20.3 billion of cash pumped in as part of its rescue. Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said: "Six years ago we inherited a business that was in a very fragile financial condition. Thanks to the hard work of everyone at Lloyds, we've turned the group around." Chairman Lord Blackwell said the sale of the final 0.25% stake "marks the final step in the rescue and rejuvenation of Lloyds Banking Group".
At the peak, Lloyds was 43% owned by the state after its bailout during the banking crisis.
Problems emerged for the lender after former prime minister Gordon Brown cleared the way in 2008 for it to make a £12bn takeover tilt for HBOS to help shore up the sickly firm's balance sheet and prevent a full nationalisation.
But these plans came unstuck when it became clear that HBOS had saddled Lloyds with heaps of toxic assets stemming from risky bets made by HBOS on commercial property during the boom years.
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