THE National Pension Reserve Fund has raised €12m following the sale of 44 million Bank of Ireland (BoI) shares, the fund said yesterday.
It now has a share holding of 13.95pc in the bank.
BoI rose almost 6pc following news of the sale, as investors welcomed the prospect of more liquidity.
The bank was named by analysts at Barclays as their top European banking pick for 2014 earlier this week. Barclays said BoI has seen a "significant improvement" in pre-provision profitability which, combined with falling impairment losses, "could mean a positive bottom line profit for 2014".
The Barclays analysts, who focus on fixed-income investment opportunities rather than the equities typically bought by ordinary punters, are betting that special shares issued by the bank are the best way to capitalise on its improving performance.
BoI has been loss-making for five years but expects to return to profit this year.
Barclays said that investors should opt to invest in Bank of Ireland's 10.24pc preference shares, which will yield a 7.5pc return up to July 2016.