Goodbody Stockbrokers had €72m in the bank at the end of 2020 before its owners agreed to sell the business to AIB in March.
Taking into account the cash pile suggests the true cost to the largely State-owned bank of buying the stockbroker was around €66m, compared to a headline deal price of €138m.
Newly-filed accounts just filed for Goodbody Stockbrokers show 2020 was a bumper year despite early fears about how Covid would hit the business that prompted managers to seek €450,000 of Government Covid wage supports.
The 2020 results show the stockbrokers delivered pre-tax profits of €5.5m for the year, having suffered a €1.8m loss in 2019. Its cash pile increased even more dramatically, from €56m at the start of 2019 to €72m by the end of 2020.
The new accounts show revenues increased 12pc to €72.4m.
The 2020 results are a sharp contrast to fears during the initial phase of the Covid pandemic, which had led Goodbody to seek Government wage supports of €450,000 to honour its payroll commitments without cutting staff.
That support had been fully repaid before the end of the financial year as income bounced back rapidly once the brokerage got to grips with the impact of the pandemic.
The results show average pay for the 316 staff at Goodbody Stockbrokers was €108,000 last year.
That excludes the €3.4m pay shared by key management led by then long-standing managing director Roy Barrett, who are likely to make up less than a handful of the 316 complement of staff at the stockbroker.
In March Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe granted AIB a major waiver from banker pay rules banning bonuses and capping salaries in order to close the Goodbody deal, after the bank argued it could not complete a takeover if caps were extended to staff at the broker, although the firm had not paid bonuses in recent years.
The pay caps, in place at all bailed out banks since the financial crisis, still apply to staff in the main body of AIB, with a limit in the number of employees who can transfer into the brokerage arm.
AIB secured agreement to exclude staff at Goodbody from the rules, arguing the ability to pay bonuses in particular was a deal breaker for buying the business. The sale closed in September, ending years of drift for Goodbody itself after two previous efforts to sell itself to Chinese investors fell through.
Following the sale agreement Goodbody’s Mr Barrett stood down from the role, with insider Martin Tormey selected to replace him.
The Irish Independent reported last week that Mr Barrett is now in the process of setting up an exclusive private wealth advisory firm to manage the €500m fortune of Tommy Kelly, the founder of fashion e-commerce platform eShopWorld.
Mr Barrett, who is also the chairman of the Football Association of Ireland, is understood to have earned close to €10m for his 7pc stake in Goodbody when the business was sold. The 2020 accounts show he had an interest free loan from the stockbroker of €18,000 at the end last year.
Goodbody’s biggest shareholder was Fexco.