The UK Government is no longer a controlling shareholder of NatWest after it reduced the stake to less than 30%.

In a stock exchange announcement, NatWest said the government’s stake has fallen to 29.82%.  

NatWest, which received multiple bailouts during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, has seen the government’s share decrease steadily from an initial 84% holding. 

The reduction in the government’s stake, by just over one percentage point, values its remaining shares at just under £7bn, according to Sky News.  

This decline in ownership is part of a broader strategy to divest government interests in the bank, which has been ongoing for several years. 

In 2018, the government owned 62% of NatWest, which was then known as RBS Group.  

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By the end of 2022, this had decreased to 45.9%, and further to 37.98% by the end of last year.  

The government has expressed intentions to fully exit its position by 2025 or 2026, contingent on achieving value for money in the sales process. 

As part of the government’s plan to stimulate UK capital markets, the Treasury is considering offering a portion of its remaining NatWest stake to retail investors as early as June, as reported by CityAM.  

In a statement, NatWest said: “We welcome the government’s continued commitment to returning NatWest Group to private ownership. 

“With the government shareholding now below 30%, we have been pleased with the recent momentum to achieving this shared ambition, which we believe is in the best interests of the bank and our shareholders.” 

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Bim Afolami said: “This is a significant milestone demonstrating we’re making excellent progress on fully returning NatWest to private ownership. 

“In addition to our successful trading plan, we are now looking ahead to a retail offering of NatWest shares, which could come as soon as this summer, subject to market conditions and value for money.”