BoI to sell €1.3bn of US loans

BANK OF IRELAND, the nation’s largest bank, is preparing to sell its remaining $1.8 billion (€1.3bn) of US real-estate loans after regulators ordered it to shrink its balance sheet.

The bank expects to hire advisers in the middle of this week to oversee the sale, Anne Mathews, a spokeswoman for the bank said.

The unit manages commercial real-estate loans in New York City, Washington and Boston, she said.

Irish regulators directed Bank of Ireland in March to reduce its loan book by about €30bn or 26%, by the end of 2013.

Chief executive Richie Boucher said on April 14 the company will sell about €10bn of loans and wind down other holdings, including British broker-sourced residential mortgages, to meet the target.

The US sale is “part of the Bank of Ireland group’s recently announced three-year deleveraging plan,” Ms Mathews said.

The bank expects to complete the divestment this year.

The bank last month put on sale its stake in Burdale Finance, a British asset- based lender that oversees about €800 million of loans.

Bank of Ireland is also selling its international project finance division, which manages about €2.7bn of loans.

Meanwhile, Allied Irish Banks sold its 49.99% stake in Bulgarian American Credit Bank (BACB) to Bulgarian CSIF, the Sofia-based lender said.

No price was given.

BACB is a publicly listed bank based in Sofia, Bulgaria, focused on small to medium-sized enterprises.

As at December 31, 2010, BACB reported consolidated total assets of €375.9m and shareholders’ equity of €96.6m.


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