AIB shareholders vote to repay €1.7bn to the taxpayer

The bank received €21bn and now hopes to start clearing its debt

Shareholders at AIB are this morning voting to repay €1.7bn to the taxpayer.

The move is one of a number of proposals being put forward to reorganise the bank - which is 99.8% owned by the State.

The bank is holding an EGM of shareholders, required to approve various changes to the bank's capital structure that will see up to €7bn repaid to the taxpayer by the bank over the next six months.

Following these changes, the exchequer will receive €1.7bn in partial redemption of preference shares they acquired in the bank in 2009, while high interest loans notes issued by the Government to the bank will also be repaid by next July, valued at €1.6bn - bringing the total repaid to €3.3bn.

In late spring or early summer it is anticipated that the bank will be reflotated on the stock market, with the Government expected to sell an initial 25% of its 99.9% shareholding, as part of that IPO.

That initial sale of shares to investors could raise another €3m to €4m for taxpayers - depending on market conditions at the time and how aggressively the new shares are priced.

The vote today is expected to be passed by the bank's large institutional investors and the restructuring plan is approved by the regulator in Frankfurt.

AIB chairman Richard Pym says today is a critical step towards a return to normality for the lender.

He says the bank is fulfilling its duty to the taxpayer.