The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has given some very clear signals that the government is thinking about selling off the 82% that the taxpayers hold in the bank after bailing it out. There are reports that the sale may take place as early as 2014. The news comes as the bank finally reported a profit of £826m versus the £1.4bn loss that they reported during the first quarter of last year.
According to RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton, the bank may now be ready for sale near the start of 2014 or possibly even sooner depending on how their financials look. He explained that the results from February are very positive and they would hope to be ready for the sale as early as the middle of 2014 but there is a possibility that it may b even sooner as they believe now that the recovery process will come to a close in just a year or so.
It will be up to the government to set a price at which they want to sell off their shares. This past Thursday the shares close on the market with a value of 307p, but this is well below the 500p price that the taxpayers had to pay for the shares when they bailed out the bank. Last March the government stated that it would lower the average share price down to 407p.
Chief executive of RBS, Stephen Hester, stated that the group is finally starting to make a profit and this symbolises that their clean up mission is getting close to being a success. He added that while there is still a lot of hard work ahead in the industry and economy for the bank, they believe that they are finally getting close to the end of the restructuring stage.