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Gates chooses former AIB unit M&T as top stock pick

THE US bank that AIB sold its stake in as part of its recapitalisation bid has been named as one of the top stock picks for 2012 by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Renowned investor Mr Gates listed M&T Bank among his five top stock picks, according to online investment site gurufocus.com.

The news follows a strong 2011 finish for M&T. The bank's previous 'resistance level' of $76.61 was breached in the closing days of 2011, prompting analysts in the US to speculate that shares could rise by up to 10pc.

The prevailing price is still below what was achieved by AIB when the Irish bank offloaded its minority stake in M&T in late 2010, at the equivalent of $77.50 a share.

The sale, which generated about $2bn for AIB, was mandated to raise capital for the bank and fulfil the demands of the 2010 banking stress tests with minimal state support.

A further round of stress tests last March heaped a €13.3bn capital demand on the bank, prompting a massive bailout that left it in 99.8pc state ownership.

Irish Independent