LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Britain has cut its stake in Lloyds Banking Group to below 6 percent as it attempts to return the lender to full private ownership this year.
UK Financial Investments Limited (UKFI), which manages the government's stake in the bailed-out bank, resumed share sales in October 2016, having halted them almost a year ago because of market turbulence.
Lloyds said in a statement on Monday that the government has reduced its stake in the bank by a further percentage point to 5.95 percent, meaning it is no longer the lender's largest shareholder.
Lloyds was rescued with a 20.5 billion pound ($24.99 billion) taxpayer-funded bailout during the 2007-09 financial crisis, leaving the state holding 43 percent.
Britain's finance ministry has now recovered over 18 billion pounds, Lloyds said in the statement.
"Today's announcement that the UK Government is no longer our largest shareholder is a key milestone in the journey of Lloyds Banking Group back to full private ownership, returning taxpayers' money at a profit," Antonio Horta-Osorio, Chief Executive of Lloyds Banking Group said. ($1 = 0.8205 pounds) (Reporting By Anjuli Davies; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)