EU approves Lloyds restructuring plan
BRUSSELS, Nov 18 (Reuters) – Plans by British lender Lloyds Banking Group Plc to sell parts of its operations in return for billions of pounds in state aid were approved by European Union competition authorities on Wednesday.
Lloyds, 43 percent owned by the British government, will sell 600 branches as part the restructuring and exit all non-core businesses and risky portfolios inherited from HBOS, which it acquired in January, the European Commission said.
Lloyds earlier this month unveiled a series of regulatory-enforced asset sales.
“This plan effectively addresses the Commission’s competition concerns and at the same time ensures the return of Lloyds Banking Group to long term viability,” European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.
The EU executive said Lloyds would pay a significant proportion of the restructuring costs to ensure a level playing field.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)
((email@example.com; tel +32 2 287 6844; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))