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September 26, 2022

Bank of Ireland returns to private ownership following State’s exit

The Irish Department of Finance has announced that the State’s shareholding in the Bank of Ireland has returned to zero.

Following the sale of the government’s stake, Bank of Ireland has become the first bank, which was bailed out during the financial crisis, to return to private ownership. 

In a statement, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the government recovered around €6.7bn in cash from its €4.7bn investment in the lender between 2009 and 2011. 

The share trading plan, which was completed in three phases, raised approximately €841m in proceeds. 

In the last phase, Bank of Ireland shares were sold at an average price of €6.17 per share. 

Donohoe said: “When I announced the launch of the share trading plan in June 2021, I commented that banking is an activity that involves taking credit risk and therefore should be provided by the private sector. 

“It follows that taxpayer funds which were used to rescue the Irish banks should be recovered and used for more productive purposes. The gradual disposal of the State’s investment in Bank of Ireland into a rising market has been successful in delivering on this objective for our citizens.”

During the financial crisis, the government also acquired a stake in Allied Irish Banks (AIB) and Permanent TSB (PTSB). 

“We have also made great progress in relation to our investments in PTSB and AIB, which collectively are still worth over €4.9bn notwithstanding various disposals this year,” the minister said. 

The government’s stake in PTSB is expected to fall to 62.4% later this year from 75% and the stake in AIB has reduced from 71.2% to 63.5%. 

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