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UK Treasury reveals plan to sell-off more NatWest shares

NatWest chairman says London office culture will never be the same

The UK Treasury is set to sell more of its stake in NatWest over the coming 12 months as it confirmed a trading plan to decrease its holding in the bank.

NatWest was rescued by the government on the back of the financial crisis over ten years ago. It remans 54.7% owned by the UK Treasury despite continued efforts to sell-off its holding.

However, the government reaffirmed that it would only sell the shares for a price it deems fair for taxpayers.

Its sales of NatWest shares have up until now represented a hefty loss on what was paid for them in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

The NatWest share price was valued below 200p as markets closed on Wednesday, meaning the FTSE 100 bank has a valuation of £23bn.

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The latest trading plan has been permitted by chancellor Rishi Sunak on the advice of UKGI.

“The implementation of a trading plan represents continued progress towards the government’s plan to return this shareholding, acquired as a result of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, to private ownership,” the Treasury said.

Additionally, the chairman of NatWest, Howard Davies, said office culture in London is unlikely to ever be the same as it was before the pandemic.

Davies said that he expects the changes to remain even once the pandemic is a thing of the past: “The days when 2,500 people walked in through our office door on Bishopsgate at 8:30 and then walked out again at 6 o’clock, I think that is gone. I suspect there won’t be that many people who will be doing five long days in the office.”

While some of the company’s workers, especially traders, will continue to operate from company desks, most of the bank’s staff will be required to enter the workplace on an intermittent basis. “I suspect there won’t be many doing five long days in the office,” Davies said.

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