B Shares count towards the economic rights of shareholders but unlike Ordinary Shares, don’t provide voting rights. The B Shares were created in December 2009 when the Government held an 84.4% economic shareholding in RBS with the aim of keeping its stake of voting shares below 75%. Stock Market Listing rules require majority shareholders in companies to hold less than 75% of voting shares for the company to remain listed.
Following the conversion of the B Shares into Ordinary Shares, the Government will hold 72.88% of the Ordinary Share capital of RBS. The conversion will increase the total number of Ordinary Shares in RBS to 11.6 billion.
The Government has already started to sell down its shareholding in RBS and has announced plans to reduce this by 75% over the next five years. Converting the B Shares to Ordinary Shares is seen as an important part in that process. However, the conversion has no implications for the timing of future Government share sales.
The full announcement can be found here.