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McClatchy-Tribune  07/27/2014 11:59 PM ET
Lloyds aims for October as share offer target date [Financial Mail on Sunday, London :: ]

July 27--The Government's 24.9 per cent stake in Lloyds Banking Group could be sold off as soon as October.

The bank wants the earliest possible date for the launch of a public share offer for the state-owned stake worth about pounds sterling 13?billion.

An insider said October is being considered as the first opportunity, but pressing ahead with the plan would depend on a series of crucial hurdles, most important being the Scottish independence referendum in September.

Lloyds is based in Scotland and a Yes vote could raise too many questions about the bank's future to make a public share sale feasible.

Other obstacles include the Bank of England's stress tests on bank finances and its success in convincing regulators to let Lloyds start paying a dividend for the first time since its 2008 bail-out.

Sources said the share sale prospectus would need to be 'bombproof' so close to the May 2015 election.

The bank is set to unveil a loss for the first half of the year, including pounds sterling 500 million in new provisions for PPI mis-selling.

Lloyds spin-off TSB will reveal half-year numbers at the same time. Broker Credit Suisse predicts a full-year profit of pounds sterling 170 million.

Barclays is expected to reveal half-year profits of pounds sterling 3 billion on Wednesday, almost double last year's interim profit of pounds sterling 1.67 billion.


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