National Audit Office argue Lloyds Bank sale profit claims, stating £230m loss

National Audit Office argue Lloyds Bank sale profit claims, stating £230m lossThe National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that a sale by the government in September of a substantial slice of taxpayer-owned Lloyds Banking Group did not make a net profit as the government had earlier claimed and actually cost the taxpayer £230m.

In September the government divested a 6 per cent stake in the lender for just over £3.2bn. At that time, the government had claimed the sale, which reduced the government's stake in the bank to 32.7 per cent, had netted a £60m profit for the taxpayer.

HM Treasury placed around 4.3m ordinary shares at around 75 pence per share, higher than the average 73.6 pence paid when Lloyds was bailed out in 2008.

However, taking account of the cost of borrowing the money to buy the shares in the first place at the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, the NAO has said there was a shortfall for the taxpayer of "at least" £230m.

However the report, which is mostly positive about the conduct of the sale, said: "This shortfall should be seen as part of the cost of securing the benefits of stability during the financial crisis, rather than any reflection on the sale process."

The sale was handled by UK Financial Investments, which manages the Government's stakes in the bailed-out banks.

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