Wednesday 18 October 2017

AIB won't expand abroad for three years, says CEO

AIB CEO Bernard Byrne rings the bell at the Irish Stock Exchange as Deirdre Somers, CEO of the exchange, and Richard Pym, chairman of AIB, look on
AIB CEO Bernard Byrne rings the bell at the Irish Stock Exchange as Deirdre Somers, CEO of the exchange, and Richard Pym, chairman of AIB, look on
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

AIB may eye expansion abroad but not for another three years, CEO Bernard Byrne said yesterday as the bank completed the final step of its €3.4bn share sale.

As its shares went fully free for trade on the Dublin and London stock exchanges on Tuesday, Mr Byrne said the focus is on Ireland for now.

AIB exited its major Polish and US investments after the crash, though it maintained a UK presence. Its IPO prompted speculation it will look to expand again as it leaves State hands.

"For now it's really about efficiency in what we're doing. Beyond the three-year horizon, we'll come back and talk about that later," he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

AIB will continue to sell loan portfolios to reduce its stock of non-performing loan, he said. The bank still has "€5bn to €6bn" of non-performing loans to reduce through debt restructurings and sales, he said.

The State plays a limited role in the bank, he said.

"We run the business very commercially on our own, the board is totally responsible for the day-to-day strategic direction of the company."

Shares in AIB went free to trade unconditionally in Dublin and London yesterday, and traded at around €4.73 each through much of the session, similar to the level where the shares closed on Monday and above the €4.40 issue price.

Irish Independent

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