Friday 24 November 2017

Government will sell up to 25pc of AIB - Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan. In the last Budget, the SARP programme was extended to 2017. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Finance Minister Michael Noonan. In the last Budget, the SARP programme was extended to 2017. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said the Government will not put more than 25pc of AIB on the market initially.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV in London, the minister said a sale would take place “at the back end of this year” or into next year.

“We need to restructure the shareholding first,” Mr Noonan said.

“It will be at the very back end of this year, if we move this year, otherwise it will go into 2016 and we will not put more than a quarter of it on the market in the first instance.”

It is not yet clear whether the government is planning a sale of the bank to a buyer or whether it will hold an IPO.

Mr Noonan also told Blomberg that Ireland was not going to go back into the cycle of boom and busts. He predicted steady growth of between 3pc and 4pc over the coming years.

“The tradition in Ireland is for people to own their own homes so there is a big demand again in Ireland for young couples to form families and they see owning their own home as one of the prerequisites of a family formation, so that will continue, but our Central Bank has taken macro prudential measures to control the availability of finance.

“We’ll be very watchful into the future on that issue. We don’t want the boom and bust cycle again.

“Three times it let us down over two generations, so what we want now is reasonable growth across all the sectors without downturns.”

On Greece, Mr Noonan said that discussions between the Greek government and the Eurogroup had been heated, but this was not the case during the conference call between Eurozone finance ministers yesterday when the Greek economic reform plan was signed off on.

He said that while Ireland doesn’t want to see write-offs, the country may be able to extend maturities.

Mr Noonan was also due to take part in a Q&A session in Bloomberg, with more than 200 people signed up to attend.

This will also involve a meeting with Peter Grauer, Chairman of Bloomberg. The programme will then involve a meeting with Institutional Equity Investors where Minister Noonan will partake in a roundtable discussion.

“My key message is clear - the recovery is well underway, the economy is growing and Ireland is open for business,” MR Noonan said ahead of the event.

“I will be outlining the benefits that the economic, fiscal and financial stability has brought to Ireland. Ireland is now the fastest growing economy in Europe and solid, sustainable growth and full employment is achievable into the future.”

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