independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Majority of NIB's branch portfolio to be sold off in early 2013

The bulk of National Irish Bank's remaining former branch portfolio is likely to be sold by the end of the first quarter of 2013 or by early in the second quarter, according to estate agents Savills.

The bank, which is owned by Denmark's Danske Bank, closed all its 27 branches in Ireland last month. Its customers here now have to use options such as phone or internet services, post offices or one of a handful of Danske Bank 'advisory centres' to meet staff face-to-face.

Sixteen of the closed branches were in Dublin.

Among the properties put up for sale was a high-profile premises on Dublin's College Green. It has a €4m price tag.

Another former branch was on O'Connell Street in the capital. There's a guide price of €1m on that property.

Stephen McCarthy, an associate at Savills, said there has been significant interest in the properties.

He said interest had principally come from domestic players, but that there had been some enquiries from international clients.

Potential buyers were happy to meet asking prices, he said.

"This isn't a distressed sale." Mr McCarthy said that interest was particularly strong for the premises that are located in urban areas and that a range of potential buyers were in the mix.

Danske Bank has denied that the closure of its branch network marks another step towards eventually pulling out of Ireland.

The company has lost heavily on its bet to enter the market here, having bought Northern Bank and National Irish Bank (NIB) in 2005 for €1.4bn from National Australia Bank.

In the first half of this year, NIB recorded a €401m loss and made a further €391m provision for loan impairment charges.

That impairment charge was down from the €401m it set aside in the first half of 2011.

Irish Independent

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