AIB's Polish unit brings forward its first-quarter results
AIB's Polish unit has brought forward the reporting of its first-quarter results by two weeks to this Friday, which would allow potential acquirers of Bank Zachodni WBK to have a clearer view of current trading.
The move would also help AIB's advisers on the sale, Morgan Stanley and AIB Corporate Finance, as they look to set up a so-called 'data room' to give prospective parties access to Zachodni's books.
The Irish Independent reported two weeks ago that up to 12 financial groups are running the rule over AIB's 70.2pc stake in Zachodni.
Meanwhile, shareholders attending the group's annual general meeting this morning will be expecting to get a clearer picture of how AIB plans to raise €7.4bn of capital by the end of this year to meet new regulatory requirements.
The bank raised the 'for sale' sign over Zachodni, its 22.5pc stake in US bank M&T Bank as well as its UK division four weeks ago.
It has been given until this Friday to file a comprehensive capital-raising plan with the Financial Regulator, which is expected to include a rights issue in the autumn and conversion of at least some of the State's €3.5bn of preference shares into ordinary stock.
"Any news (at the AGM) on the disposal programme will be keenly anticipated," said Kevin McConnell, an analyst with Bloxham Stockbrokers.
"The gap between the two (main) banks in terms of capital-raising plans has been highlighted by the progress at Bank of Ireland." BoI formally unveiled its €3.4bn equity-raising plan on Monday.
Finance union IBOA is planning to use AIB's AGM to denounce the group's plans to sell off its UK division, comprising its British business banking arm and the Northern Ireland retail bank First Trust.
The union's general secretary Larry Broderick is understood to have secured proxy votes from shareholders, giving him the right to speak at the meeting.
IBOA said yesterday it would also present a petition to the AIB board, signed by a substantial majority of First Trust's 1,500 staff, campaigning for the 48-branch business to be kept by the group.
"He will also ask shareholders why AIB seems so determined to dispose of First Trust Bank (FTB) at the bottom of the market for a doubtful short-term benefit when the more prudent course would be to retain FTB and AIB Great Britain so that their underlying strength can play a positive long-term role in the restoration of AIB's fortunes," the union said.