Tuesday 17 October 2017

PTSB could return to private ownership by 2017, Masding tells agm

Group chief executive Jeremy Masding, chairman Aidan Cook and company secretary Ciaran Long at the PTSB agm. Colm Mahady/Fennells
Group chief executive Jeremy Masding, chairman Aidan Cook and company secretary Ciaran Long at the PTSB agm. Colm Mahady/Fennells
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

PERMANENT TSB has a reasonable chance of returning to private ownership by 2016 or 2017, chief executive Jeremy Masding has said.

The head of the state-owned bank added he was looking at the progress made by both Bank of Ireland and AIB in becoming more attractive to investors.

The comments come as a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the bank, which was once the country's biggest mortgage lender.

ATTRACTIVE

At its AGM yesterday, chairman Alan Cook told angry shareholders that the bank was doing a "pretty good job" as it fights for survival.

Mr Cook said it was the board's belief that the bank would be "sufficiently attractive" to have it returned to private hands by 2017.

"It doesn't mean it gets sold to a North American bank or a UK bank," he said. "In theory it could be a progressive injection of capital by private equity companies, it could be flotation, it could be from a trade sale to another bank. Frankly it's just massively premature to be assessing those options."

Mr Masding later told reporters that over time Permanent TSB would become an "investable entity".

"I think now that we are getting some momentum, and I look at the progress that Bank of Ireland and AIB seem to be making in becoming attractive investable vehicles... I'd like to think that over time we will become an investable entity.

"I see no reason why that timeline isn't reasonable."

Improving market conditions mean the bank is looking to sell €1bn of boom-era Irish developer and property loans and a €465m book of subprime residential mortgage business, known as Springboard, this year.

Ahead of the AGM yesterday, PTSB issued a trading update to the stock exchange and said its mortgage arrears had fallen 10pc from their peak last year.

Impairment charges are expected to be significantly down this year on those experienced in 2012 and 2013, it said.

PTSB said in March that its cases of home loan arrears of more than 90 days peaked at 15.1pc in September, while arrears on buy-to-let loans reached a high of 21pc in December 2012.

New mortgage approvals to the end of April were up 80pc year-on-year, with €118m worth of mortgages drawn down in the year to date, from across the country. This is a 425pc increase year-on-year.

The market share of new mortgages is estimated at about 13pc, compared with a low of 1.6pc in the final three months of 2012.

Shareholders yesterday vented their anger at the Government's control of the bank, as well as pension losses for members of its pension scheme.

One shareholder questioned why €40m was being paid by the bank on interest for the contingent convertible capital notes. Mr Cook described them as a form of insurance policy.

Mr Masding later said that the bank had not had any discussions with Ulster Bank, and had heard nothing from the European Commission concerning its restructuring plan.

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