Tuesday 23 January 2018

Anglo shareholders to be told actual value of investment

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan. Photo: Bloomberg News
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan. Photo: Bloomberg News

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

The Government will next week finally begin the process of deciding if there is any value in the shares of Anglo Irish for thousands of shareholders who lost out when the bank was nationalised in January 2009.

After being pressed on the issue for over a year, the Department of Finance has now written to an investor group telling it the formal tendering process can now begin.

Sources said yesterday a procurement notice was scheduled to be placed next week seeking expressions of interest, with the appointment of an assessor expected to follow shortly afterwards.

The lender was nationalised in January 2009 in the Anglo Irish Bank Act 2009, but that legislation committed Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to appoint an assessor to decide on the "fair and reasonable" value of Anglo shares, if any.

Earlier letters from the department indicated an assessor would be appointed last summer, but this never happened.

Most observers do not expect any value to be put on the shares. Nevertheless, the assets and liabilities of the bank at the time of nationalisation have to be assessed.

The department has written to a group holding preference shares in Anglo Irish, Lambay Capital Securities, updating it on the position. Lambay has been pursuing the department on the issue for a year.

"The Department of Finance will, in the coming weeks, be seeking expressions of interest for the appointment of an assessor,'' said a letter sent to Lambay.

Lambay has written to the department several times saying that if the department does not name a date for an assessor to be appointed it will issue a public statement to the market.

The bank's shares were delisted from the Dublin and London stock exchanges in January 2009, after the Sean FitzPatrick loan revelations. The bank lost 98pc of its value in 2008 as property losses mounted.

Mr Lenihan has said compensation for shareholders would depend on the assessor. "If the assessor decides the bank is worthless, then compensation will be nil.''

Irish Independent

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