A SHAREHOLDER action group suing Lloyds Bank over the ill- starred rescue of HBOS in the financial crash has claimed relief over the restoration of the dividend by the bank last Friday is mis'placed and premature.The Lloyds Action Group (LAG), representing some 9,000 individual shareholders and 300 institutions, said the bank's "token" 0.75p payout after more than six years fell short of any "victory" for shareholders as many continued to suffer severe losses from the HBOS takeover.A LAG spokesman said the group believed the dividend, supported by strong 2014 profits unveiled by Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, would have been restored "far sooner" but for the takeover in 2008. The spokesman said: "The [divident] announcement can hardly be described as a victory for Lloyds shareholders. Prior to the bank's disastrous takeover of HBOS, Lloyds was considered a retirement stock and shareholders were in receipt of 24.7 pence per share, not the token amount announced last week."Lloyds' share price is still below the level that it was when Lloyds last paid a dividend. The bank's shareholders are continuing to pay the price for this terrible deal."LAG's legal action alleges Lloyds did not reveal key information in the shareholders' circular before a vote on the takeover. Specifically, it claims the group did not reveal the financial lifeline that HBOS was getting from Lloyds and the Bank of England to continue trading.Lloyds contests the claim. The case is due to be heard in the High Court next year. The bank's statutory profits rose fourfold to GBP1.8bn in 2014.
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