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Lloyds bank says to sell 20% stake in investment unit

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Britain's state-rescued Lloyds bank said on Monday that it would seek to sell 20 percent of its holding in investment manager St James's Place, as part of ongoing restructuring efforts.

"Lloyds Banking Group plc announces today its intention to sell an anticipated minimum 102 million ordinary shares in St James's Place plc, representing approximately 20 percent of the company's existing issued ordinary share capital," it said in a brief statement.

"The placing reflects Lloyds' strategy to simplify the group and focus on its core customer franchise."

Earlier this month, Lloyds had posted annual losses of £1.43 billion, hit by huge insurance mis-selling compensation, but it awarded its boss a bonus linked to an eventual sale of the government's stake.

The loss after tax, equivalent to $2.16 billion or 1.66 billion euros, was almost half the £2.79-billion shortfall it suffered in 2011.

The bank is 39-percent owned by the British government after a state bailout following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Lloyds also said that chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio would receive a 2012 performance bonus of £1.485 million, deferred in shares until 2018.

However, at Horta-Osorio's request, the bonus will be paid only if the British government sells at least a third of its stake above 61 pence -- the average price it paid during the bank's bailout -- within the next five years.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130311/lloyds-bank-says-sell-20-stake-investment-unit