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Government sells £1.1bn NatWest stake

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The government has sold 580 million shares it holds in NatWest, at a price of 190p per share, raising £1.1bn in the process.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) rebranded as NatWest last year.

The shares were sold to institutional investors overnight, and reduces the government’s stake in NatWest from 59.8% to 54.8%. 

It’s the second time the government has sold NatWest shares in the last couple of months, and the fourth sale overall.

Back in March, the government raised a similar amount when it agreed to sell 591 million shares back to NatWest itself.

Bailing out banks

NatWest was one of the nation’s big banks which were bailed out by the Treasury during the financial crisis in 2007-8. 

Back then the government paid 502p per share, more than double the price this latest stake was sold at. At the time of writing, the stock is worth 192.6p per share.

The government has committed to returning the banks it invested in back to fill public ownership in time, having fully cleared its stake in Lloyds Banking Group back in 2017.

However it has accepted that there is little prospect of taxpayers actually seeing much in the way of a profit on the money spent bailing out those banks.

The Treasury has now committed not to sell further ordinary shares in NatWest for 90 calendar days.

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