Saturday 24 March 2018

Brussels wants IL&P viability plan

Joe Brennan

Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P), which has managed to avoid state bailouts or inclusion in the NAMA scheme, will still have to file a viability plan with Brussels by the end of September.

The five banks participating in the country's 'bad bank' scheme, and which have received capital injections from the Government, have been required to submit full-scale restructuring plans to the European Commission.

Bank of Ireland is being required to sell off key businesses -- including Bank of Ireland Asset Management, its New Ireland life and pensions unit and ICS Building Society -- to get its plan over the line.

Allied Irish Banks is still awaiting the outcome of its talks with Brussels.

Anglo Irish Bank filed a second version of its plan on Monday, while EBS also submitted its overhaul plan this week. Irish Nationwide is expected to post its restructuring plan by the end of this month.

But IL&P must now also submit a viability plan by the end of September, under terms of recently issued EU guidelines. Brussels has demanded that any institution continuing to rely on a state funding guarantee after July 1 must show its long-term viability once the support is removed.

The plan will have to outline how its Permanent TSB unit, with the highest reliance on wholesale funding among domestic banks, plans to put its funding mix on a sounder footing.

The bank had a loan-to-deposit ratio of 246pc -- or €2.46 on loan for every €1 on deposit -- at the end of December. While the figure was down from 309pc last June, all banks are coming under severe market pressure to bring it down to between 100pc and 125pc.

However, sources close to the bank have pointed out that IL&P does not face the type of sanctions that bailed-out EU lenders are having to stomach as part of full-blown restructuring plans.

Still, it is likely that the group will use its submission to highlight various restructuring options, including possible merger deals that it would like to pursue to speed up the overhaul of its funding profile.

Irish Independent

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