State shareholding in Bank of Ireland falls below 5%

It is expected that the State’s holding in the bank will fall to zero by the middle of this year

The State has further reduced its stake in Bank of Ireland, bringing its shareholding to below 5 per cent.

In a statement the bank said the State’s shareholding has fallen to 4.93 per cent from 5.94 per cent.

“This is a further important step towards normalisation of the State’s relationship with Bank of Ireland,” said chief executive Francesca McDonagh.

“By the end of 2021, Bank of Ireland had returned €6.2 billion to the State from its original support of €4.8 billion. The ongoing sales process adds to these returns, and is a positive process for Irish taxpayers, the Irish economy, and Bank of Ireland,” said Ms McDonagh.

The State is now the third largest shareholder in Bank of Ireland with the taxpayer having been eclipsed in January.

It previously held a 13.9 per cent stake in the bank, having invested €4.7 billion into it during the financial crisis.

It is expected that the State’s holding will fall to zero by the middle of this year, allowing Bank of Ireland to become the first Irish lender to return to full private ownership since the sector imploded during the financial crisis.

The bailout of Ireland’s banks during the financial crisis is estimated to have cost the State over €40 billion. Bank of Ireland is the only lender to have fully repaid the taxpayer.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist

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