BANK of Ireland has moved the close of its fiscal year back from the end of March to the end of December.
The move, announced by the bank yesterday, not only brings the company into line with the other two publicly quoted Irish banks, in terms of reporting timeframe — AIB and Irish Life & Permanent — but could also simplify its funding endeavours in the short to medium term.
As a result of this move, BoI’s next annual report and set of accounts will cover the nine month period from April 1, 2009, to December 31 last and the results will be reported in late March.
“This change in financial calendar brings the bank into line with its peer banks,” Bank of Ireland said in a statement.
Analysts were quick to point out that, as a result, BoI’s loan transfers to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) — due to begin this month — will now be reflected in one calendar year, rather than spanning two.
Eamonn Hughes of Goodbody Stockbrokers called the announcement “very unusual”, but added it was one which contained “a certain logic”, nevertheless.
“A March year-end would have put the bank into a closed period until mid-May. With the EU to come back at some stage over the next couple of months and NAMA rolling forward, it would appear that the bank has deemed an earlier period end as offering the maximum amount of flexibility to deal with any fundraising as and when they get further details on these two issues,” he said.
“With both Bank of Ireland and AIB on December year-ends with March results, and closed periods that commence again on July 1, it now appears they will both be coming to the market at the same time as and when the mists of NAMA and the EU clear,” Mr Hughes added.
Meanwhile, BoI has declined to comment on reports suggesting it — alongside other Irish financial institutions — could be close to selling Government guaranteed bonds as a short-term capital raising initiative.
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