HC Deb 22 February 1980 vol 979 c374W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many shares the Government have sold in British Petroleum in the past five years; what is the loss of revenue by way of dividend at an annual rate: and what is the latest figure for the asset value of these shares.

Mr. Lawson

In June 1977 the previous Government sold 66,785,591 BP ordinary stock units of £1 each and in November 1979 the present Government sold a further 80 million ordinary shares of 25p each.

It is further estimated that the dividends payable in respect of the first share sale have now amounted to some £47 million, equivalent to an annual rate of some £17.6 million. The shares in the 1979 sale were sold ex the interim dividend payable in November 1979 and BP's final 1979 dividend has yet to be paid.

The asset value of the BP shares sold in the two sales, calculated on the basis of the proportion represented by those shares of the ordinary shareholders' interest shown in the audited balance sheet at 31 December 1978, is estimated at some £840 million.