Business Irish

Sunday 19 November 2017

Ross backs €3.1bn BoI loan to State in bailout deal

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

BANK of Ireland shareholder Wilbus Ross will vote to approve the bank's planned €3.1bn loan to the Government, at a shareholder meeting to be held on Monday. The US billionaire called on fellow shareholders to back the deal.

The loan is central to Finance Minister Michael Noonan's effort to defer the cost of the first payment due under the controversial "promissory note" used to bail out Anglo Irish Bank, now part of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

In March, when the payment fell due, Bank of Ireland's board agreed to make a one-year loan to the Government to cover the payment.

However, the bank must secure shareholder approval before making the payment -- in the meantime state-controlled NAMA advanced the cash.

Budget

The deal was worked out after EU authorities refused to postpone the due date on the payment, despite Mr Noonan's desperation to avoid meeting the payment from the ordinary government budget.

Bank of Ireland shareholders will vote on the deal at an extraordinary general meeting on Monday.

Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg news service that he will back the loan, and called on fellow shareholders to do the same. The US billionaire's 9pc stake makes him the biggest shareholder, after the Government, in Bank of Ireland. The State owns 15pc of the bank but is not allowed to vote at Monday's meeting because of its involvement in the deal.

Irish Independent

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