NTMA to cut back on its borrowings by €3bn

John Corrigan

The NTMA will reduce the amount of cash balances it will hold and will look to raise a total of €8bn to €10bn by the end of 2015, according to its chief executive John Corrigan.

The agency built up 12-month to 15 month cash balances as it exited the EU-IMF bailout programme last December, in case the country experienced any funding difficulties.

However, over the past six months, Ireland’s borrowing costs have tumbled to record lows and access to the markets has become much more seamless. Mr Corrigan said the NTMA would now look to lower cash balances to roughly nine to 12-months of future funding needs, which would result in roughly a €3bn lower borrowing requirement.

Mr Corrigan, who retires at the end of this year, was speaking at the launch of the NTMA annual report for 2013 and the mid-year 2014 update.

The NTMA’s investment in AIB and Bank of Ireland had a year-end valuation increased by €4.5bn to €13.1bn. Its value of AIB, in which the Government has a 99.8% stake, increased from €6.4bn at the end of 2012 to €10bn last year.

It held ordinary shares in Bank of Ireland with a value of €1.1bn, including cash balances of €1.9bn, following the sale of preference shares in the bank.

The NTMA would look to ‘top slice’ more of the €8bn bond maturing in 2016, said Mr Corrigan, although he declined to provide any targets.

Among the highlights over the past year include €7bn raised from the markets so far this year, which is almost 90% of its indicative funding target.

Through the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, it has committed to €1.25bn in areas such as infrastructure, venture capital and long term financing for SMEs.

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland is to be established in the autumn.


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