The UK is launching a sale of Lloyds Banking Group shares to retail investors over the next 12 months.
The British government is looking to dispose of its remaining stake, of around 19 percent, in the bailed-out lender.
Lloyds was rescued during the 2007-9 financial crisis – at a cost to taxpayers of 20 billion pounds, leaving the government initially holding a 41 percent stake.
UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which manages the government’s stakes in bailed-out banks, has extended a ‘trading plan’ that allows Morgan Stanley to sell Lloyds shares beyond its current June deadline until the end of the year.
“We’re determined to get on with the job of returning Lloyds to private ownership,” said British Chancellor George Osborne.
“That’s why I’m extending the plan for six months so that we can make even more progress in returning money to the taxpayer and paying down the national debt.”
UKFI is expected to offer retail investors the chance to participate in an offer of several billion pounds worth of Lloyds shares which, in addition to the shares sold through the trading plan, could enable a full exit in the next year.
It is expected to be biggest UK privatisation since Margaret Thatcher’s government sold off assets in the 1980s.