Carney Boosts Lloyds Plan For £1.3bn TSB Float
The state-backed Lloyds Banking Group is this weekend considering increasing the price at which it sells shares in TSB, its high street subsidiary, amid strong demand from investors.
Sky News has learnt that Lloyds could announce early next week that it is revising the 220p-290p range for the flotation of TSB by raising the bottom end to approximately 240p.
Investment banking sources said Lloyds would make a decision after consulting its advisers during the next couple of days.
One insider said that the Mansion House address by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, had bolstered sentiment among City investors for TSB shares, with further interest registered on Friday.
Mr Carney said it was conceivable that interest rates would rise from their historic low of 0.5% sooner than markets expected, implying that a rate hike could come before the end of this year.
That would potentially benefit TSB, the profitability of which is geared to interest rates to a greater degree than most of its high street rivals.
One insider said the City's assumptions about TSB's profitability, outlined in its prospectus last week, might need to be revised given the boost to margins on mortgages and current accounts which could result from an early rate rise.
At the 255p mid-point of the 220p-290p range announced last Monday, TSB would be valued at £1.275bn, roughly 15% below its book value of just over £1.5bn.
The expectation that shares in the UK's seventh-largest lender will be sold for less than its book value disappointed some City analysts.
Yet even at that level, Lloyds would still attract a price for TSB that is significantly higher than the £750m which the Co-operative Group planned to pay for the 631-branch network before a deal collapsed last year.
The prospectus revealed that TSB made an after-tax profit of £172m last year on revenue of £798m, although the earnings figure included a £105m tax gain.
Banking sources also said that approximately 60,000 retail investors had applied for shares, lured by the offer of free bonus stock.
That figure could increase significantly by Tuesday, when the window for retail applications closes.
Lloyds is selling between 25% and 27.5% of TSB in the flotation.
It is required to offload the remainder by the end of next year under a state aid deal agreed with Brussels following the bank's taxpayer bail-out in 2008.
Lloyds, which is being advised by Citi, JP Morgan, UBS, Investec, Royal Bank of Canada and Rothschild, declined to comment.