UK cuts NatWest stake to 22% as retail sale shelved

The UK government has reduced its stake in NatWest to 22.5% as it accelerates its exit from the bank formerly known as RBS — after the general election forced it to put plans for a share sale to the general public on hold.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “A retail offer will not happen during the election period.”

The government on Friday said it had sold £1.24 billion of shares to NatWest via a buyback.

NatWest received several bailouts from the UK taxpayer during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, leaving the government with an 84% stake in what was then known as Royal Bank of Scotland.

Natwest Group CEO Paul Thwaite said: “This transaction represents another important milestone for NatWest Group, building on recent momentum in the reduction of HM Treasury’s stake in the bank.

“We believe it is a positive use of capital for the bank and for our shareholders and represents further progress against the ambition to return NatWest Group to full private ownership.

“Our focus remains on delivering for our customers which will, in turn, deliver for our shareholders and the UK economy.”