Sunday 21 January 2018

AIB's UK sell-off hit by Lloyds

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

THE chances of achieving an imminent sale of AIB's UK business receded yesterday after Lloyds announced that it was to "accelerate" plans to sell off 600 branches in the UK.

The comments came as Antonio Horta-Osorio, the new chief executive of Lloyds, announced a "strategic review" of its businesses.

The acceleration of the so-called Project Verde, which involves selling off non-core assets to meet European Commission (EC) demands, will have no impact on the wind-down of Lloyds Bank of Scotland (Ireland) business.

But efforts to ramp up the sale of 600 UK branches and associated mortgage loans could make it more difficult to achieve any sale of AIB's UK assets.

A spokesman declined to be drawn on how soon Lloyds could formally kick off the sales process. However, the speeded-up timeline could see the bank's sale of its UK assets clash with AIB's proposed sell-off.

AIB aborted attempts to sell its UK business late last year after it failed to attract sufficiently high bids, but some expect the UK assets to come back on the block later this year as Irish banks embark on a major downsizing process.

Irish Independent

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