Noonan says UK election will not derail AIB share sale

Minister says May/June window still gives Government plenty of time to avoid UK poll

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan with Central Bank governor Philip  Lane at the  new Central Bank Building in Dublin’s docklands. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan with Central Bank governor Philip Lane at the new Central Bank Building in Dublin’s docklands. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The snap UK election, announced last week by prime minister Theresa May, will not impact the Government’s planned AIB share sale, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said.

He was speaking at the opening of the new Central Bank Building in Dublin’s docklands.

Mr Noonan has previously indicated that the State would most likely press the button on its initial public offering (IPO) of stock in the bank in May or June. However, yesterday he mooted the first week in July as a possibility.

Either way, Mr Noonan said there would be plenty of time to get the IPO away in the weeks after the June 8th vote, which might precipitate some market turbulence.

“We haven’t decided on any particular date. What we have said is the window of opportunity for a variety of reasons is between mid-May and early-July and the UK election doesn’t interfere with that window,” he said.

On the issue of US tax reform and the potential impact on Ireland, Mr Noonan said he expected an announcement from the Trump administration on Wednesday.

Corporate tax

He said the initial indications suggested there would be significant proposals on personal taxation and on reducing the headline 35 per cent rate of corporate tax, which is significantly higher than most other OECD countries.

Mr Noonan said he also expected proposals relating to the so-called off-shoring of multinational profits.

However, he said US president Donald Trump’s controversial plan for a border tax on imports, a move that would damage Irish exports, had not been highlighted in recent soundings from Washington.

“Like all tax issues, the devil is in the detail. So you could think the principal is very good but it’s only when you see the detail you see if there are any problems.”

However, he said no one had signalled to him that there would be problems for Ireland in the proposals.

Minister Noonan said the new Central Bank was “a confident new building for a new time in financial regulation”.

“In the context of Brexit and possible movement from the City of London to Dublin, it is very important that the bank is recognised as a credible, strong and independent regulator,” he said.