Will KBC drop Irish arm? Watch this space
Cantillon: Oblique comments from global chief executive Johan Thijs give little away
KBC Bank in Dublin: will it stay or will it go? Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Should I stay or should I go now? The Clash lyrics seem appropriate in the context of Belgian bank KBC as it ponders what to do with its Irish subsidiary following a strategic review of options last year.
The bank has signalled that we will receive an answer when it publishes its full year results on February 9th.
Just before the New Year, KBC’s global chief executive Johan Thijs made remarks about wanting to tackle the Irish market, which could be interpreted either positively or negatively depending on your point of view.
“And last, but not least, this is not a central European market, but we have another asset where we have a market share, which is below our reference, and that is in Ireland,” Thijs said. “And, as you know, we have indicated already earlier that, on Ireland, we will position ourselves in the next coming months when we will publish the fourth quarter results of 2016. We will then also make a statement of what we’re going to do with Ireland and how we’re going to tackle that market going forward.”
Increased market share
KBC’s Irish business is back in profit and has taken market share since expanding its physical footprint to 15 hubs here, but it is still considered to be subscale.
Other commentators believe it will follow the bancassurance model it uses in its home market, citing listed Irish insurer FBD as a potential takeover target.
We should get an answer, of sorts, in a month’s time.