UK finance minister Jeremy Hunt said on Wednesday he would explore options for a NatWest share offer to the public in the next 12 months, to allow the UK government to reduce its stake in the bank formerly know as RBS.
The UK government has been slowly reducing its stake in NatWest since bailing out the bank during the 2008-9 global financial crisis, but still owns around 39%.
The bank was returned to majority private control last year after a string of share sales, mainly to institutional investors.
“I will explore options for a NatWest retail share offer in the next 12 months subject to supportive market conditions and achieving value for money,” Hunt said.
The UK Treasury said: “The government intends to fully exit by 2025-26 utilising a range of disposal methods …
“As part of the plan to return NatWest to the private sector, the government will explore options to launch a share sale to retail investors in the next 12 months.”
NatWest said: “We welcome the government’s continued commitment to returning NatWest to private ownership and believe this is in the best interests of the bank and our shareholders.”