The Government of Ireland has announced plans to sell a part of its 13.9% directed shareholding in Bank of Ireland.

In a statement, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said that the divestment will be carried out over the next six months through a pre-arranged trading plan.

Citigroup Global Markets has been appointed to manage the sale.

As agreed, Citi will carry out a measured and orderly sell down of shares in the lender.

The finance ministry has also instructed Citi to sell up to, but no more than, 15% of the expected aggregate total trading volume in Bank of Ireland over the duration of the trading plan.

The number of bank shares that will be sold will depend on market conditions among others.

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Additionally, the Department of Finance will review the divestment and will ensure that the shares are not sold below a certain price to protect taxpayers’ interest.

Donohoe said: “Today’s announcement marks the start of a phased exit from the State’s remaining investment in Bank of Ireland. When all cashflows are taken into account the taxpayer has already recorded a surplus on its investment in and support for the bank, even before the sales of these shares are accounted for.

“A trading plan enables the State to sell down its shares in a low cost carefully controlled manner while avoiding the need to try to time our disposals with market conditions.”

Currently, the government owns around 150.4 million ordinary shares in Bank of Ireland. The value of the shareholding is around €700m.