The Irish state is no longer the single biggest shareholder in Bank of Ireland after it diluted its stake in the lender from 7.97% to 6.93%, Bank of Ireland said in a stock filing.

Notably, the government has been gradually reducing its stake in the Bank of Ireland which was around 14% in June 2021.

It is expected that by mid-2022, the government will fully exit Bank of Ireland. 

With the latest announcement, US asset manager Blackrock is now the largest shareholder in Bank of Ireland with a 6.95% interest. 

Bank of Ireland CEO Francesca McDonagh said: “In just over six months, the State holding in Bank of Ireland has halved. As of today, the State is no longer the largest shareholder in the group. The ongoing sale process is a positive one for Irish taxpayers, the Irish economy and the Bank of Ireland.

 “We welcome its momentum, and look forward to being the first Irish bank to return to full private ownership during this year.”

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By GlobalData

During the property crisis, the government pumped $72bn into the banking system and acquired a stake in several lenders. 

As part of the bailout between 2009 and 2011, the government injected nearly $5.3bn in the Bank of Ireland.

In December 2021, the state decreased its shareholding in the bank from 8.99% to 7.97%.

Around that same time, Ireland’s government announced plans to dilute its 71.12% stake in Allied Irish Banks (AIB). The divesture is expected to begin soon.  The government also owns a 75% stake in Permanent TSB.