Irish govt to sell down part of 13.9% Bank of Ireland holding By Reuters

© Reuters. General view of a branch of the Bank of Ireland in Dublin, Ireland, March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/Files

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s government will begin to sell down part of its 13.9% shareholding in Bank of Ireland over the next six months, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said in Wednesday, marking the state’s first sale of any bank shares since 2017.

Ireland pumped 64 billion euros ($76.3 billion) or almost 40% of its annual economic output – into its banks a decade ago.

A property crash had left its now mostly state-owned banking sector requiring the biggest state rescue in the euro zone.

Bank of Ireland was the only lender to avoid majority state ownership and Donohoe said the announcement marked the start of a phased exit from the state’s remaining investment in the country’s largest bank by assets.

Citigroup (NYSE:) was appointed to manage the sale and instructed to target that up to, but no more than, 15% of expected aggregate total trading volume in the bank be sold over the duration of trading plan, Ireland’s finance ministry said.

The state’s shareholding is worth close to 700 million euros and will not be sold below a certain undisclosed price per share which will be kept under review, the ministry said.

The trading plan will become operational in the coming days and will terminate no later than six months later, but can be renewed at the minister’s discretion, it added.

The British government sold down its remaining 24.9% stake in Lloyds (LON:) Bank from 2014 to 2016 in a similar process.

Bank of Ireland CEO Francesca McDonagh welcomed the announcement as a positive step for taxpayers, the economy and the bank.

($1 = 0.8384 euros)

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by : Reuters

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