Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Can Investors Swallow Plan B? COMMENT

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Can Investors Swallow Plan B? COMMENT

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Goodway

NO ONE could accuse Sir Win Bischoff of easing himself gently into his new role as chairman of Lloyds Banking Group. He only took over on 15 September, but in the three weeks since then he has done as much as many chairmen do in three years.

Today we learn that he has produced Plan B to extricate Lloyds from the Government's asset protection scheme by raising [pounds sterling]25 billion through a mixture of share issues and asset sales. Plan A, which was rejected by the Financial Services Authority, would have seen Lloyds raise less than [pounds sterling]20 billion.

Today's Plan B, which raises the amount that Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Pierce had calculated Lloyds needed to avoid the scheme altogether, seems to be going down much better with the authorities.

But that doesn't necessarily mean it will go down well with shareholders, who must decide whether they are throwing good money after bad.

France's BNP Paribas and Societe Generale and Italy's UniCredit are in the process of raising a total of [euro]13. …

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