Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe confirmed on Friday that he has resumed drip-feeding AIB shares into the market, after agreeing in late June not to sell stock for 90 days following the placing of a 5 per cent block of shares with institutional investors.
Mr Donohoe had already signalled to the Oireachtas finance committee last week that he intended to start selling AIB shares again after the 90-day lock-up period — and that his officials would “continue to monitor markets for future opportunities to sell more of our shareholding to larger transactions”.
The State has reduced its AIB stake to 63.5 per cent from 71 per cent so far this year through the sale of small amounts of stock on the market and the June block placing.
“It continues to be this Government’s belief that banking in the main is an activity that should be provided by the private sector and that taxpayer funds which were used to rescue the banks should be recovered and used for more productive purposes,” Mr Donohoe said on Friday.
“Following the successful disposal of 5 per cent of the issued share capital of AIB by the State in June, the share trading plan has now resumed following a ‘lock-up’ period and this will allow us to continue to reduce our shareholding in the bank gradually over time. I will continue to keep other monetisation options open, should these opportunities present themselves.”
AIB has so far returned about €11.1 billion of its €20.7 billion crisis-era bailout.
Meanwhile, Mr Donohoe said last week that he had sold the State’s remaining shares in Bank of Ireland, making it the first rescued Irish lender to return fully to private ownership.
Bank of Ireland received a €4.7 billion bailout between 2009 and 2011, but returned €6.7 billion in cash to the Government, including money received from the sale of bank shares, preference stock and bailout bonds following the crisis. It also includes dividends and the collection of guarantee fees.