Business Irish

Sunday 17 December 2017

Seven questions for beleaguered AIB board

AIB shareholders assemble for their AGM in Bankcentre at 11am on Wednesday.

With their company almost certain to fall into majority state ownership, shareholders need to ask the board some hard questions. Here are some of the questions that need answering:

1) Estimates vary but it looks like the State will end up owning at least 70 per cent of AIB after the bank raises the €7.4bn of extra capital.

Having defied the Government to appoint insider Colm Doherty to succeed Eugene Sheehy as boss, will chairman Dan O'Connor and his fellow-directors be staying on after the State takes control?

2) It is no secret that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan wanted an outsider to replace Sheehy. But now that AIB has failed to stave off majority state ownership, will Doherty be staying or going?

3) AIB is transferring €23bn of bad loans to Nama. At a 43 per cent discount, that works out at losses of almost €9.9bn on the loans going to NAMA alone.

So far, AIB has written off just €7.2bn of bad loans across its entire loan book, which stood at €130bn at the end of €2008. With "criticised" loans standing at €38bn, how many more bad loans will AIB have to write off?

4) Selling its stakes in Polish bank BZWBK and US bank M&T was supposed to be the centrepiece of AIB's strategy to avoid majority state ownership.

When will these transactions be completed and how much does AIB expect to raise from them?

5) The EU forced BoI to put its New Ireland, BIAM and ICS subsidiaries up for sale in return for approving the Government bailout.

What further asset disposals does AIB expect to be compelled to make, in order to secure the go-ahead from Brussels for its recapitalisation?

6) AIB took much longer than BoI to recognise just how awful its situation had become. This persistent refusal to recognise reality infuriated the Government. What steps has AIB taken to restore good relations with its soon-to-be majority shareholder?

7) When Eugene Sheehy finally departed as chief executive last November, he left with an annual pension of €458,000. What steps has AIB taken to recover money paid to former executives whose disastrous lending decisions landed it in its current mess?

Sunday Independent

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