Britain announced Monday that it has ceded control of bailed-out banking giant NatWest, cutting its stake to below 50 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis.
The government has sold off another tranche of shares for more than £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion, 1.4 billion euros), taking its holding from 50.6 percent to 48.1 percent.
"This is a landmark in the government's plan to return to private ownership the institutions brought into public ownership as a result of the 2007-2008 financial crisis," the Treasury said in a statement.
Britain sold approximately 550 million shares at 220.5 pence per share to NatWest, which was formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
RBS was rescued with £45.5 billion of taxpayers' cash in the world's biggest banking bailout at the height of the global financial meltdown.
"This sale means that the government is no longer the majority owner of NatWest Group and is therefore an important landmark in our plan to return the bank to the private sector," said Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen.
"We will continue to prioritise delivering value for money for the taxpayer as we take forward this plan."
At its peak, the government owned 84 percent of RBS but this holding has been gradually reduced.