Bank nets €40m from sale of its stake in EuroConex

BANK of Ireland has netted €40 million from the sale of its stake in the payment-processing firm EuroConex Technologies.

Bank of Ireland had a 50% stake in the firm and yesterday sold that to its joint venture partner, Nova Information Systems.

It was not disclosed how much profit Bank of Ireland will make from the disposal.

The bank said it will book the payment as an exceptional item in its half-year results.

The deal will be finalised by the end of June. Bank of Ireland will release its annual results for the year to end March 2003 in a few weeks’ time.

EuroConex was formed by Bank of Ireland and Nova four years ago and provides debit and credit card processing services to banks and other institutions.

“The EuroConex model of forming alliances with financial institutions and European payment processors has proven to be beneficial for all parties,” said EuroConex chief executive Billy Saunderson.

“As a result, we are able to better deliver solutions and services tailored to address domestic, intra-regional and international market needs.” This is the second deal in the past week for Nova. Last Friday, Nova acquired CardPoint from AIB’s Polish subsidiary BZWBK for $15 million.

EuroConex has two operations in Ireland at the IDA Business Park in Arklow and Cherrywood, in south Dublin.

It employs more than 100 people here. Nova is a subsidiary of the US-listed financial institution Bancorp. It is based in Atlanta and is the third-largest merchant service provider within the US payment processing market.

Meanwhile, ICS Building Society announced a €79.9m surplus before tax for 2003, an increase of 17% on the previous year.

The society’s mortgage book grew by 26.9% to €3.249bn during the year, while new advances rose 25.6% to €1.169bn. Deposits rose just 3.9% to €2.581bn. The cost to income ratio improved to 25.1% from 27.2%.

Speaking at the society’s 140th annual general meeting yesterday, chairman Patrick McDowell, said: “the society’s strong financial performance is at a time when there has never been more competition amongst Irish mortgage lenders.

“The society continues to be the preferred mortgage provider for more and more customers and in 2003 our mortgage book grew by more than the Irish mortgage market,” Mr McDowell added.

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