Wednesday 26 July 2017

Resignation of Kenny and Noonan 'won't impact' timing of AIB's planned IPO

Department of Finance is expected to pull the trigger on the deal by the end of the month (stock photo)
Department of Finance is expected to pull the trigger on the deal by the end of the month (stock photo)

Gretchen Friemann

Potential investors to AIB's near €3bn part privatisation have been told the resignation of both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance over the past 24 hours will leave little impact on the timing of a long-planned share selldown.

As independent.ie reported last week, the Department of Finance is expected to pull the trigger on the deal by the end of the month.

A source familiar with the discussions insisted the extensive groundwork already undertaken means AIB's shares could begin trading within four weeks of the lodgement of the intention to float document, which officially sets the ball rolling on the IPO.

Michael Noonan announced this morning he intends to resign before a new Taoiseach assumes office in June.

But it is understood it may take three to four weeks before another Minister for Finance takes over Mr Noonan's role - potentially leaving him in office until early July at the latest.

That coincides with the end of the "first window of opportunity" the government flagged earlier this year for the IPO.

While the government has insisted it is under no pressure to sell a quarter stake in AIB, the end of May to the end of July had been widely viewed as the favoured option, with the September to October months earmarked as the second window.

But the swift changes sweeping the Irish political landscape, triggered by Enda Kenny's resignation on Wednesday, may be jangling nerves in the Department of Finance.

This afternoon Sinn Fein and Labour trumpeted the passing of a Dail motion that forbids the sale of a 25pc stake in AIB until the fiscal rules have been renegotiated.

Pearse Doherty tweeted the development this afternoon, and claimed the government was "too distracted by the leadership race" to vote on the motion.

A spokesperson for the Department of Finance told independent.ie the voting process is "not over yet".

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