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

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.

Investec analyst Owen Callan said KBC would be a key element in any eventual consolidation in the sector here, possibly involving Ulster Bank or Permanent TSB.

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.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.