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March 19, 2021, 3:54 a.m. EDT

UK trims its NatWest stake

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By Joe Hoppe

The U.K. government has sold 590.7 million shares of its stake in NatWest Group PLC back to the company, as part of a directed buyback contract.

The government sold the shares for 190.5 pence a share, the price at the close of trading Thursday, reducing its stake in the banking and insurance company from 61.7% to 59.8%. NatWest said it will cancel 390.7 million of the shares and hold the rest in its treasury.

Settlement of the off-market purchase will occur on March 23.

The government had announced on March 3 that it intends to sell its entire majority stake in NatWest, achieving value for money for U.K. taxpayers.

In the height of the economic crisis of 2008, the government injected capital into NatWest, then called the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, with ownership eventually peaking at 84.4%.

Write to Joe Hoppe at joseph.hoppe@wsj.com

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