List of EBS bidders to be revealed within days

A SHORTLIST of bidders to buy the EBS Building Society is expected to be announced by the Government within a few days.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Finance said yesterday the Government wouldn’t announce the final list yesterday as anticipated.

The two bidders thought to be given the green light to get involved in takeover talks are said to be Irish Life and Permanent, which intends a merger of its banking business Permanent TSB with the EBS, and Dublin-based Cardinal Asset Management.

Doughty Hanson, owners of TV3, and the US private equity group JC Flowers are thought to have been ruled out as potential buyers for what is the last remaining building society in Ireland.

Irish Permanent in its original form was a building society and escaped the meltdown that has so undermined the banking sector.

Cardinal has been lurking in the shadows since the banking crisis unfolded in 2008. Led by Nick Corcoran and Nigel McDermott, it was part of the Irish-led Mallabraca consortium that made tentative efforts to secure a stake in Bank of Ireland.

EBS, which ventured into property lending at the height of the boom, was left with a deficit of €850 million which left it seriously undercapitalised.

It is thought that it may require at least another €100m in further capital to bring its balance sheet up to new regulatory capital standards before the year end.

To date it has gained from a €350m injection of state funding with a further €500m sanctioned by the EU to meet the more rigorous capital thresholds demanded by the Financial Regulator. EBS has 12% of the state’s mortgage market.


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