Wednesday 25 April 2018

Fexco bid to retain Goodbody's executives in planned takeover

Joe Brennan

FEXCO representatives have met senior figures at Goodbody Stockbrokers to see how they could be kept on board as part of a deal to take over the brokerage from Allied Irish Banks.

AIB has received a number of approaches since the Irish Independent reported in January that a possible sale of Goodbody was among "a suite of measures" the EU Commission is looking at as part of the bank's state-aid restructuring plan.

It is understood Fexco, which has almost 1,300 employees, is seriously considering giving senior Goodbody executives a stake in the firm if it goes ahead with an offer. AIB, Fexco and Goodbody declined to comment.

Sources said Australian group Macquarie, which is also circling Bank of Ireland Asset Management (BIAM), has also held talks with AIB about Goodbody, but is thought not yet to have reached the same stage as Fexco. The Kerry-based financial services group's coffers have been boosted by the €120m sale of its money transfer business to Western Union last year.

Colin Hunt, the head of Macquarie's Irish corporate advisory activities, is very familiar with Goodbody as a former research director and chief economist there. Investment firm TVC Holdings has also been mooted as a potential suitor.

A sale of the brokerage is not expected to deliver a capital gain for AIB, which must raise €7.4bn to reach new regulatory targets. But the bank would no longer have to hold a pool of capital against the brokerage.

A deal would also see AIB shave its workforce by 260 employees, lower its regulatory risk and enable it to chase its "back to basics" banking strategy. Any new owner would have to look at Goodbody's employee base, given that it one of the few Irish brokers not to have introduced cost-saving programmes in recent years.

Irish Independent

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