Controversy Erupts as UK Government Plans Summer Share Sale of NatWest Group

The UK government’s stake in NatWest Group has dropped below 30%, marking a significant milestone in its divestment from the high street lender.

This reduction in ownership, from over 45% in late 2022 to 29.8% currently, reflects ongoing daily sales and a £1.3bn buyback in May last year. The government’s ownership of the bank stood at just under 38% at the beginning of 2024.

The UK government's stake in NatWest Group has dropped below 30%, marking a significant milestone in its divestment from the high street lender.
The UK government’s stake in NatWest Group has dropped below 30%, marking a significant milestone in its divestment from the high street lender. (Credits: NatWest Group)

Falling below the 30% threshold means the UK government is no longer considered a controlling shareholder under the UK’s listing rules.

NatWest Group will be freed from certain obligations, such as the requirement for two votes on appointing directors. This development aligns with the government’s aim to return NatWest to private ownership by 2026.

Controversy Surrounding Share Sale Plans

The government’s plan to sell shares to retail investors this summer has sparked controversy, with critics questioning its political motivation and potential costliness.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt reiterated the Treasury's commitment to privatizing NatWest, emphasizing the goal of engaging a "new generation of retail investors."
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt reiterated the Treasury’s commitment to privatizing NatWest, emphasizing the goal of engaging a “new generation of retail investors.” (Credits: Forbes)

Despite criticisms, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt reiterated the Treasury’s commitment to privatizing NatWest, emphasizing the goal of engaging a “new generation of retail investors.” However, the sale plans diverge from years of advice from Treasury officials.

Jen Garcia
Jen Garcia
Experienced finance and business news writer, exploring market dynamics with insightful analysis and engaging storytelling.
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