IL&P shareholders accuse Government of 'stealing'
Published 17/05/2011 | 05:00
A group of Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) shareholders is set for a bitter clash with the company's board at tomorrow's annual general meeting.
It comes after the group launched a media campaign to try to stop IL&P from being nationalised. The group claims the Government's plan to take control of IL&P is "a form of stealing".
The campaign is being led by Piotr Skoczylas, managing director and fund manager at Scotchstone, an investment company based in Malta. Scotchstone is among IL&P's 100 biggest shareholders.
The group says IL&P directors have failed to defend shareholders' interests after the Central Bank said IL&P would need €4bn of new capital to meet the new bank solvency rules.
"What the Government is doing is only one step away from the way Robert Mugabe behaves," Mr Skoczylas told the Irish Independent.
Mr Skoczylas said IL&P shareholders would contribute €1.7bn to the bailout of the insurance and banking business, through asset sales.
He said it should mean they keep 44pc of the company. He said his group represented about 5pc of shareholders.
The Government insists it cannot pump an expected €2.3bn of taxpayers' funds into IL&P without taking control of the group.
It is set to take about a 90pc stake in IL&P in exchange for pumping in the cash.
Yesterday, a van with billboards setting out the shareholder group's demands travelled through Dublin to raise awareness for its cause.
The campaign wants to mobilise the 100,000 Irish people with shares in the group. The Skoczylas-led group has tabled a motion to try to block the re-appointment of the current board of directors at this week's AGM.
A spokesman for the company said the board and management had met the disaffected shareholders for a number of discussions.
The spokesman said they were treating the concerns very seriously.
However, company sources said the disaffected shareholders were overestimating IL&P's ability to reverse what were major government policy decisions.
They said Permanent TSB, IL&P's banking arm, was dependent on the European Central Bank for liquidity.
Banking sources said without that liquidity the group would already be insolvent -- which meant that any contribution IL&P could make to its own bailout was already being supported by taxpayers.