Tuesday 12 December 2017

Majority control of AIB by the state is still likely, says Dutch lender ING

Emmet Oliver

AIB is still likely to end up in majority state control despite Friday's sale of its Polish operations to Santander which released €2.5bn of fresh capital, the Dutch lender ING has claimed.

AIB, led by Colm Doherty, is "not out of the woods yet'', said the Dutch bank, although it acknowledged the sale was a step in the right direction. AIB's ultimate target is to raise €7.4bn, which would be the largest capital raising ever achieved by an Irish bank. The comments were included in a note to clients.

The views of ING came on the day when senior figures in Poland started to accept the sale to Santander.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he respected AIB's choice of Santander, rather than a state-owned Polish bank, to buy a 70pc stake in Bank Zachodni WBK.

While "it's a pity" that government-controlled PKO Bank Polski failed in its bid for the country's third-largest lender by market value, "the world moves on" and the government won't interfere in the regulatory approval process, Mr Tusk said at a news conference.

Santander hasn't yet submitted a request for approval of the takeover, Lukasz Dajnowicz, a spokesman for the Polish financial regulator, said. Peter Greiff, a spokesman for Santander, had no immediate comment on the process.

In a separate procedure, the watchdog is investigating whether Allied Irish disclosed confidential information about the transaction, Mr Dajnowicz said.

"I wouldn't speak of this as blocking the transaction," he said. "As the market superviser, we're checking that the laws were followed. There's no reason to scare anybody."

The sale process was "entirely appropriate" and Allied Irish will "be happy to cooperate fully" in any investigation, AIB said yesterday.

In addition to PKO, BNP Paribas SA of France and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA were among the other bidders for Zachodni.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business