Wednesday 20 February 2019

Bank of Ireland shares fall on the back of Fairfax stock sale

Financier Prem Watsa
Financier Prem Watsa reporters

SHARES In Bank of Ireland fell 6pc this morning following news that Canadian investor Prem Watsa is to cut his stake in the institution for the first time in more than a year, selling 2.9pc of the bank on the market.

Bank of Ireland shares were off by just under 6pc at 36.2 cent in early trade.

Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings on Monday moved to sell half of its 5.8 percent stake in Bank of Ireland, cashing in on shares that have more than tripled in value since their purchase at the height of the euro zone crisis.

The Canadian property and casualty insurer run by contrarian investor Prem Watsa on Monday offered 935 million shares for sale via Deutsche Bank at an indicative price range of 35.75 to 37.25 euro cents per share, sources told IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication.

Bank of Ireland shares, which were trading at 10 euro cents when Fairfax bought in 2011, closed in London on Monday at 38.75 euro cents.

Fairfax was part of a consortium with U.S. billionaire Wilbur Ross that bought a 35 percent stake in Bank of Ireland months after Ireland signed up to an EU/IMF bailout in a deal that kept the bank out of state control.

Fairfax sold a third of its original 8.7 percent stake in March last year. At the time it promised to retain its final 5.8 percent stake for "the long term."

Irish Independent

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