Bank of Ireland sells its stake in PCI

BANK of Ireland has sold its 50% holding in Paul Capital Investments (PCI) to the firm’s existing management team.

The bank’s share of PCI’s net assets was €10 million at December 31, 2010 and said the disposal would only have a negligible impact on the group’s capital position.

The sale is part of the bank’s strategy to quit its involvement in institutional fund management.

It also represents the completion of another element of the group’s EU restructuring and viability plan.

Following the recent round of stress testing, the bank was instructed to raise a further €4.2 billion in fresh capital to meet the more stringent capital demands set down by the regulator.

It has been given a few months to achieve those targets.

The governor of the Central Bank, Patrick Honohan, said he expected the more onerous capital demands would force Bank of Ireland into state hands.

The taxpayer currently owns 36% of the bank and the future of chief executive, Richie Boucher, depends on his ability to find fresh capital from the private sector.

The targets must be met in order to end the dependence of the bank on the ECB for funding and to bring the capital reserves up to the tougher EU/IMF bailout terms announced in March last year.

Speaking at the announcement of the results for 2010 last week, Mr Boucher said he expected to end the bank’s reliance on emergency ECB funding by 2013.

Last week, the bank reported losses before tax of €950m — significantly less than the €2bn loss in 2009 and well below the €10bn losses at rival AIB.

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