Lloyds Banking Group has paid off its debt to the UK taxpayer after it required a massive liquidity boost following the international debt crisis which first became apparent in 2007.
The Government was forced to take a 43 per cent stake in the group following the collapse of the derivatives market.
In 2009, the group revealed £11bn of losses at HBOS but has gone on to slowly turn itself around.
UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which managed the government stake in Lloyds, cut its 6.93 per cent holding from 7.99 per cent in December last year.
Shares in the bank dropped from a high of 72.15 to a low of 47.55 in July 2016 one month after the country voted for Brexit.
However since then they have been climbing and the bank is now back in full ownership, their share price is 69.54.
The pound is trading at €1.18 / $1.28
Lloyds Bank has described the full ownership as a ‘significant milestone’
Chief Executive Antionio Horta-Osorio told investors: “We are now just days away from a major milestone as the group returns to full private ownership.
“We take great pride in the fact that the government has already received more than its original investment of £20.3bn.
“With further proceeds to come as the sale is completed, this will ensure that the UK taxpayers get back at least £500m more than was originally put in.”
People drank and chatted in Berlin as Athens erupts in anger
9.08am BST German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble is tightening his grip on Greece as tensions in the country reach boiling point over the fact that the country needs another bail out.
Berlin is hosting talks with finance ministers today and held a party in Berlin’s private members club Soho House last night.
People have been protesting in the streets of Athens on a day-to-day basis as they react furiously to demands that the country cut pensions of up to 18 per cent as Germany, the IMF and the ECB refuse to step into help the citizens.
Greece has been struggling to cope with the cost of the european migrant crisis which is again under the spotlight after record numbers reached the shores of Europe from Libya.
Nonethless Germany and its partners have maintained the country will be forced to make horrific cuts rather than look at reasonable, straighforward solutions and keep them under the threat of expensive default.
Mr Schäuble echoes the sentiment of German chancellor Angela Merkel who blasted Greece for giving its pensioners emergency winter payments.
Capital flight in the country remains high as a run on the banks that began in January continues.
The news comes as a G7 finance minister’s meeting gets underway ahead of a full leaders’ summit later this month.
9.31am BST North Korea demanded on Friday the extradition of South Korea’s spy chief, accusing him of being a mastermind of a plot to assassinate its leader, Kim Jong Un, with a biochemical weapon.
The North’s KCNA state news agency last week accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) of a plot to assassinate its “supreme leadership” with a biochemical weapon.
The accusation came after weeks of tension over North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and fears it will conduct a sixth nuclear test or test-launch another ballistic missile in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
North Korea on Thursday demanded the handover of “terror suspects” involved in the plot but it did not identify anyone.
There have been demonstrations in Madrid over Uber
11.12am BST Private Hire vendors across the country are ditching Uber’s predatory pricing as court judgements mount.
The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has branded Uber an official company after the organisation claimed it was a software organisation.
The key judgement will effectively hammer the controversial brand which has been criticised for trying to mandate a global monopoly.
Zoom.taxi’s CEO Matthew Kendall said: “Using customer research we got to the heart of the problem and out of this we developed zoom.taxi to allow private hire companies to compete in a post-Uber world.
“Customers wanted to know when their taxi was going to arrive which is why they are switching to GPS technology booking systems and our product allows private dispatch companies to fight back and grow.
“Small, local businesses can embrace this affordable, easy to use technology and keep their businesses profitable at the click of a button, picking one of three packages we offer and running up no hidden costs.
“You only pay for what you use and we’re so confident companies will love our product we’re offering a six week free trial.
“Only having a few operators in the market is not good for businesses, customers or drivers: with zoom.taxi you have a solution at the click of a button.”
More to follow…
13.23 BST Paresh Davdra, CEO and Co-Founder of RationalFX said that analysts projections for the pound to hit $1.30 are still on but that it could take more time for a full scale recovery.
He said: “The pound was down against major peers today despite the strength seen over the past week, mainly due to the reduction of the Bank of England’s growth forecasts for 2017 which were cut from 2% to 1.9%.
“Analysts had been anticipating the pound to break the psychological barrier of $1.30 against the dollar in recent days, and the dollar’s weakness earlier this week due to the firing of the FBI director raised expectations of this happening soon.
“However, these hopes evaporated as UK data from yesterday revealed a widening trade deficit, which coupled with the BoE’s lower growth forecast and unmoving interest rates has impacted the pound’s strength against the dollar as the US currency rebounded.
“Investors will increasingly be looking towards the UK elections next month and particularly the main parties’ policies on Brexit to restore confidence in the pound.”
Mariano Rajoy has become embroiled in an alleged blackmail scandal
14.25 BST Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has become embroiled in an alleged blackmail scandal that could topple his government.
Mariano Rajoy is facing serious problems as a blackmail scandal hits the headlines
The Popular Party (PP) leader has been dragged into a corruption case roaring through the Spanish courts.
Now it has emerged he may have asked his former right hand man and ex-party treasurer Luis Bárcenas to stop him from being blackmailed.
According to Spanish reports, Mr Rajoy’s colleague was dispatched to stop an audio containing damaging information about him being released.