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UK's Lloyds to ask for two-year extension on branches sale-report

A sign from a branch of a Lloyds bank is reflected in a window in central London May 13, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A sign from a branch of a Lloyds bank is reflected in a window in central London May 13, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group has asked the European competition authorities to give it an extra two years to sell the hundreds of branches it is required to dispose of as a condition for its state bail-out, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper said.

The bank, which is 39 percent-owned by the government, began talks with the European Commission earlier this month. It currently has a deadline of November 30 to sell 631 branches. A sale to the Co-operative Bank fell through in April amid concerns over the mutual's financial position.

The Sunday Telegraph said Lloyds had asked the commission to give it until the end of 2015 to complete the sale. Lloyds is now planning to sell the branches as a separate business via a share listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Lloyds plans to sell a first tranche of the shares in the business next year, industry sources have told Reuters.

Lloyds declined to comment.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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