The Department of Finance has appointed Irish agency Gordon MRM and London-based Citigate Dewe Rogerson to act as public relations advisers on the possible stock market flotation of AIB shares.
The contract is for an 18-month period with an estimated value of €200,000. It can be extended for two periods of 12 months if required.
Gordon MRM was founded in 2009 by Ray Gordon, an experienced PR executive and a former spokesman for the Progressive Democrats political party. The agency's clients include the National Treasury Management Agency and the National Asset Management Agency.
Citigate Dewe Rogerson’s website states that it serves more than 500 clients from “new start-ups to some of the world’s largest listed companies, governments and other organisations” from offices in London, the United States, continental Europe and Asia.
It previously advised the UK government on the privatisation and initial public offering (IPO) of shares in the Royal Mail, and advised the Dutch government on the part-privatisation of financial institution ABN Amro.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said the Government could instigate an AIB share sale as early as May or June, but also possibly in the autumn, as it seeks to recoup its €20.8 billion bailout of the bank during the financial crisis. It is expected to sell 25 per cent of the bank to institutional investors.
The services sought for the PR contract included “privatisation communications and media strategy development and planning”, including the development of a media schedule covering the period from the intention to float to an IPO.
Eight PR firms are believed to have been involved in a beauty parade for the contract, with pitches held last week.
A spokesman for the department said: “It’s a small investment but important, as the IPO of AIB shares is all about maximising value for taxpayers.”