Business Irish

Tuesday 20 August 2019

'One never does a deal for a deals sake' - Permanent TSB CEO says merging with another financial institution isn't top of his agenda

Jeremy Masding, PTSB
Jeremy Masding, PTSB
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

The CEO of Permanent TSB, Jeremy Masding, has said a merger between his bank and another financial institution is not at the top of his agenda at the moment.

Earlier this year analysts at Davy Stockbrokers said a merger between Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank would increase combined profits by almost 50pc.

“One never does a deal for a deals sake,” Mr Masding said following the group’s AGM today.

“My experience is that you do a deal because you believe that either a, you have exhausted your organic alternatives or b, you think there is a material difference between that option and the next best option.

So the reason I wouldn’t personally have it [a merger] at the top of my agenda at the moment is because I think the data would say we have finished let’s call it the “fix” element of the bank, we now need to over the next few years on growing the bank. So I can look the shareholders in the eye, including the Minister, and say this thing is motoring from an organic sense, it is at that time I would believe myself that doing a deal would be appropriate in terms us of driving it.”

Permanent TSB, which is 75pc owned by the State, faces some “tough decisions” in terms of how to realign the business to make the returns that it is obliged to make, he said.

With respect to the future sale of bad loans, Mr Masding said he had “no specific timings.”

“We have to make sure that the bank’s balance sheet is safe for the next economic cycle, which is expected nearly than far away, so I wouldn’t rule anything in or out at the moment, I have no specific timings.”

“In terms of the scale of any transaction that we might do, it wouldn’t be the same as last year,” he added.

“Nothing planned per se in the pipeline, but we have to get the ratio down to make the balance sheet safer.”

In the first three months of this year new lending of €300m increased 25pc year-on-year at the bank. Customer deposits of €17.2bn at 31 March 2019 were €200m higher than 31 December 2018.

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