RBS finance chief warns on timing of sell-down
ROYAL Bank of Scotland’s outgoing finance chief has cautioned that now is not the “optimum” time for the Government to sell down the taxpayer’s stake in the lender.
Ewen Stevenson said the recent slump in European stocks – sparked in part by jitters over the rise of Eurosceptic parties in Italy – might be a cause for pause as the Government prepares to privatise its near 72% stake in the bank.
Speaking on the sidelines of RBS’s annual general meeting in Edinburgh, Mr Stevenson said the UK Government “don’t talk to us about what their sell-down intentions are”.
However, the outgoing chief financial officer played down reports that a 10% stake sell-off may be imminent.
The Government is hoping to sell £15bn worth of shares by 2023, around two-thirds of its stake.
However, it is facing a near£26.2bn loss on its holding, with the lender’s shares languishing well below the average 502p share price paid during the crisis era bailout, at around 276p.
The bank unexpectedly issued a market update on Wednesday to announce Mr Stevenson’s resignation just hours before the RBS AGM.
The state-owned bank said Mr Stevenson resigned from his role to “take up an opportunity elsewhere”.