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More than 200 million BoI shares change hands ahead of rights issue

MORE than 200 million shares in Bank of Ireland changed hands in the last two days, as investors fought to get their piece of the stock ahead of this morning's rights issue and share placement announcements.

The announcements will reveal whether the State's stake in the bank will be closer to 15pc or 32pc and whether the new investment consortium buying into BoI will end up with a stake of closer to 14pc or 37pc.

Both outcomes depend on how many of the bank's shareholders took up the opportunity to buy new share in the bank at 10c apiece, since any shares not bought by them can be passed on to the State and the new consortium.

BoI was still crunching the numbers last night and a spokesman said the bank couldn't comment in advance of this morning's announcement.

Market sources said that while shareholders had initially shunned the rights issue, a number of them had changed their minds after Monday's announcement that a consortium was prepared to put up to €1.1bn into the bank.

The make-up of the consortium, headed up by Canadian insurance giant Fairfax Financial, won't be formally revealed until later in the week when each member will have to declare their interest in the bank in a Stock Exchange announcement.

Despite initial reports of up to 10 investors involved, sources yesterday suggested as few as five were in the final shake-up.

The Irish Independent understands that members of the consortium will take a "fairly even share", although Fairfax is in the lead position.

Each investor will hold their shares individually, so there will be no need for approval from the Central Bank, which only becomes involved when a 10pc threshold is crossed.

Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher will keep the bank out of state control

Irish Independent