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Temasek has not approached UK over Lloyds stake: sources

Pedestrians pass the head office of Lloyds Banking Group in central London April 11, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Pedestrians pass the head office of Lloyds Banking Group in central London April 11, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - Singapore state investor Temasek has not approached the British government about buying a 4.5 billion pound ($6.70 billion) stake in part-nationalized Lloyds Banking Group , industry sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The Sunday Times had reported that Singapore's sovereign wealth fund made a preliminary approach to the British government about buying part of its 39 percent holding in Lloyds.

A spokesman for Temasek said the company did not comment on market speculation. UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which manages the government's bank stakes, and Lloyds also declined to comment.

Britain is kicking off the process to sell its interest in Lloyds worth an estimated 20 billion pounds, with advisers asked to pitch by Monday for the job of handling the sale.

One of the sources told Reuters the government had received a number of tentative enquiries about the sale, including from overseas investors.

Among the bidders when the process starts formally could be former Standard Chartered chief executive Mervyn Davies. Sky News reported on Saturday that he was forming a consortium of sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions to buy as much as half of Britain's Lloyds stake.

Temasek could emerge as part of a Davies-led consortium given comments it made recently about future investments.

"We are ... seeing increasing opportunities in the United States and Europe that are beneficiaries of the growth in other geographies, and are likely to step up our pace of investments in these markets," Temasek said in its annual review on Thursday. ($1 = 0.6719 British pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young and Matt Scuffham; additional reporting by Saeed Hassan; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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