State’s stake in AIB falls below 56% amid ongoing share selling

Minister expects taxpayers’ shareholding in lender to go below 50 per cent later this year

The Republic’s stake in AIB has fallen below 56 per cent as Minister for Finance Michael McGrath continues to sell shares in the bank.

It comes after his predecessor, Paschal Donohoe, reduced taxpayers’ holding in the bank last year from 71 per cent to 57 per cent.

The State’s holding currently stands at 55.9 per cent, or 1.495 billion shares, the National Treasury Management Agency, which carries the stock in its Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, has informed AIB, according to a stock exchange filing on Wednesday.

Mr McGrath told The Irish Times last month that it would “require political discussion” among Government parties before he crosses the key 50 per cent threshold, which he expects to occur “in a number of months’ time”.


The Minister conceded that the 50 per cent level “will be seen as an important threshold in the context” of the continuation of a €500,000 pay cap at AIB stemming from the financial crisis. However, he said at the time that he was “not giving an explicit commitment that the restriction will be removed when we reach a certain threshold of ownership”.

The Government said last November, as it removed caps at Bank of Ireland after selling its remaining shares in that lender, that it would do similarly at AIB and Permanent TSB when its stakes fell to an unspecified “appropriate level”.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times