THE sale of Dublin stockbroker NCB for a potential €32m demonstrates yet again how much the value of even solvent Irish financial services businesses has fallen since the boom years of the last decade.
Last Friday, in a deal valuing the stockbroker at between €28m and €32m, NCB was sold to Investec, the South African financial services group. With Quinn Financial Services holding a 25 per cent stake in the stockbroker, an NCB sale had been on the cards for some time.
First, the good news. NCB fetched a considerably higher price than the mere €24m Fexco paid AIB for rival stockbroker Goodbody in September 2010.
The bad news is that even the higher price Investec has agreed to pay is merely a fraction of the €316m Davy management paid Bank of Ireland for its 90.4 per cent stake in Ireland's largest stockbroker in November 2006.
That deal, which was funded by -- yes, you've guessed it -- Anglo, valued Davy at a scarcely credible €350m. We won't see prices like that again for a while.
For taxpayers, last Friday's deal almost certainly signals that, even when a buyer can eventually be found for it, the State will recoup only a small fraction of the more than €17bn it has pumped into AIB.
The NCB deal is subject to approval by the Financial Regulator.
Sunday Indo Business