Business Irish

Sunday 22 April 2018

Four bidders vying to take control of EBS

Laura Noonan

FOUR bidders submitted second-round offers for embattled building society EBS last night, but as few as two players lodged second-round bids for AIB's stake in Bank Zachodni.

Last night's deadline for EBS bids marked the building society's second stab at getting final offers from its would-be buyers, with an earlier deadline of August 9 pushed out. Offers from all four interested parties were received yesterday afternoon "as expected".

The four bidders are understood to be IL&P, US private equity firm JC Flowers, UK private equity firm Doughty Hanson and Cardinal Asset Management.

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which is handling the EBS sale on behalf of the State, is expected to select a preferred bidder over the coming weeks and begin exclusive negotiations with a view to an autumn sale.

Last night was also the deadline for second-round bids for AIB's 70pc stake in Poland's Bank Zachodni. Reports in France yesterday suggested that just two bidders -- Spain's Santander and Poland's PKO BP -- had submitted bids.

Eight bidders were initially linked to the Bank Zachodni sale, but that list was whittled down to four after first-round bids. France's BNP Paribas and Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo are believed to have withdrawn from the race in the last fortnight, with BNP Paribas reportedly deeming the price too high.

AIB is expected to reap capital benefits of as much as €2.4bn from the sale of its Bank Zachodni stake. AIB chief executive Colm Doherty expects to have the deal completed "no later than September 30".

Irish Independent

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