Permanent TSB deal approval to take ‘months’

Almunia says European Commission is awaiting presentation of ‘clear ideas’ for restructuring

European competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia in Dublin yesterday. “We are not yet at the end of the discussions with Permanent TSB,” he said. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

European competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia in Dublin yesterday. “We are not yet at the end of the discussions with Permanent TSB,” he said. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 01:00

European Commission approval of Permanent TSB’s restructuring plan is still some months away, despite the banks’s hopes that it could be achieved by the end of this month.

European competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia said in Dublin yesterday that the plan should be accepted “hopefully, in a few months”.

“We are waiting for the presentation of clear ideas for the restructuring of this institution,” he said. “We are not yet at the end of the discussions with Permanent TSB. ”

Mr Almunia, who was addressing the Institute of International and European Affairs and the Association of European Journalists, indicated that AIB’s restructuring proposals would be considered in a similar timeframe.

In a statement issued to The Irish Times, Permanent TSB confirmed discussions on its plan were continuing.


‘Confident’
“There is now a constructive engagement under way with the EU Commission which we are confident will lead to an agreement relatively quickly,” a spokesman for the bank said.

Mr Almunia said his department will “factor in” last month’s reversal of troubled Newbridge Credit Union into Permanent TSB, while also taking close account of the Central Bank’s recent balance sheet assessments of the sector.

The commissioner declined to be specific about possible plans to separate out Permanent TSB’s loss-making tranche of tracker mortgages, aside from acknowledging that “these are things under discussion”.

“We don’t impose any kind of system,” he said.