Govt to float 25% of AIB shares

Govt to float 25% of AIB shares

The Government is to float a quarter of its shares in Allied Irish Bank.

The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, has announced his intention to proceed with an Initial Public Offering of AIB.

He said he intends to sell certain AIB ordinary shares to institutional and retail investors in certain jurisdictions in the coming weeks.

It comes just seven years after €21bn was injected into the bank in an attempt to stop the economy from collapsing.

There were reports that Mr Noonan was to make this announcement in the near future.

Earlier this month, the Dáil passed a motion that they shouldn't sell off any shares in AIB until the fiscal rules are changed.

Mr Noonan said the decision is a significant step in the continued normalisation of state involvement in the banking system since the crash.

He said: “The Government’s long-held policy is that the State should exit its banking investments in a measured and prudent manner, returning ownership to the private sector over time.

"Today’s decision is a significant step in the continued normalisation of the State’s involvement in Ireland’s banking system and reaffirms the Government’s commitment to recovering its investment in AIB for the benefit of the Irish people.”

Bernard Byrne, chief executive of AIB, acknowledged the taxpayers' role in bailing out the lender.

"We acknowledge the very material financial support provided by the state that enabled the bank to undertake this restructure," he said.

"While significant capital has been returned to date, this share listing and sale is very important as it puts in place the final mechanism that will enable the state to continue to recover its investment."

The State currently owns around 99.9% of AIB's ordinary shares. It has invested around €20.8bn in the bank since 2009, and the Department of Finance says €6.6bn has been returned in the form of "capital, fees, dividends and coupons".

The sale - which is set to begin in mid-June - is expected to raise around €3bn.

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