Tuesday 15 October 2019

Noonan's departure won't hit sale, AIB investors told

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan

Gretchen Friemann

Potential investors to AIB's near-€3bn part privatisation have been told the resignation of both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance this week will not dent the timing of a long-planned share sale.

The reassurances came as the Dáil passed a motion to delay the sale of a 25pc stake in the nationalised lender until the renegotiation of the European Union's fiscal rules.

While the Department of Finance sought to downplay the vote as inconsequential, it prompted accusations that the Government had taken its eye off the AIB IPO ball amid a Fine Gael leadership contest.

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty described the motion's passage as "bizarre" and said it cleared a path for a "proper debate" on AIB's share sale.

Labour also trumpeted the motion, with party leader Brendan Howlin urging a postponement in the sell-off "until the proceeds can be invested in building homes and hospitals, and schools and public transport".

The Department of Finance insisted "private members' motions are not legally binding" and said the vote would not alter the Government's privatisation plans.

As the Irish Independent reported recently, the Department of Finance is expected to pull the trigger on AIB's IPO by the end of the month.

Outgoing Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, inset, may even remain in office until the end of July, sources said, meaning he is likely to oversee AIB's return to the stock exchange.

Irish Independent

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