Friday 19 January 2018

State poised to reveal investment group taking big BoI share


John Mulligan

The Government could announce as early as today the identity of a major international investment group that is poised to snap up a significant stake in Bank of Ireland.

It is understood that a Chinese entity could emerge as the party likely to take control of as much as 20pc of the bank after talks intensified over the weekend.

However, a Canadian investor has also been tipped as a potential candidate for involvement.

It's also likely that investment from the Far East will indirectly leave the Chinese government owning a stake in an Irish financial institution.

The Department of Finance confirmed over the weekend that it was engaged in discussions with "potential equity investors" in Bank of Ireland in relation to a "possible material investment in the bank".

A Department of Finance spokesman declined to comment yesterday as to whether negotiations had advanced significantly since Saturday.

However, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said yesterday that "real discussions" were in progress and any stake sale could lead to the cost of the bailout to the taxpayer falling.

Bank of Ireland is trying to raise €1.9bn from shareholders. However, stung by a previous fundraising, the majority of retail shareholders are expected to shun the process.

Irish Independent

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