Shareholders vote in favour of BOI rights issue plan

Bank of Ireland shareholders have overwhelmingly backed a plan which will see the institution launch the largest fundraising exercise in the history of the state.

Bank of Ireland shareholders have overwhelmingly backed a plan which will see the institution launch the largest fundraising exercise in the history of the state.

The bank told those gathered for an Extraordinary General Meeting today that it won't need to ask them or the Government, to dip into their pockets again once its €3.4bn capital raising programme is completed in June.

Some shareholders expressed doubts as to whether the bank could be believed.

However, Chairman Pat Molloy insisted they just wanted backing for the recapitalisation and weren't directly seeking funds from shareholders.

"We are not asking shareholders to subscribe," he said. "We are asking shareholders to vote for this transaction.

"It's entirely a decision for individual shareholders as to whether or not, in their circumstances, it is appropriate for them to subscribe.

Earlier the bank's bosses had come under fire from some shareholders, with clusters of applause breaking out as audience members challenged the proposals and berated management for reckless decisions made during the economic boom.

While some shareholders had said they were determined to fight the plans, others claimed the move was unavoidable.

Management insisted the plans would make the bank stronger, while chief executive Richie Boucher remained tight-lipped in the face of shareholders’ criticism.

He also failed to raise a smile when one wry shareholder asked if Bank of Ireland stocks could be used as collateral when applying for a loan to buy the new shares.

Chairman and former chief executive Mr Molloy said the bank would act responsibly in future.

“We very much regret the predicament in which shareholders find themselves,” he said.

“We are recommending strongly that you should vote for this transaction but it is really for you to decide in your own particular circumstances what’s appropriate for you.

“I think we all understand and we’ve certainly seen in the last year or two just how volatile share prices can be, influenced by all sorts of factors outside our control."

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