Leading Fine Gael figure calls for faster AIB sell off

The State's holding in AIB is believed to be worth close to €11.7bn

Leading Fine Gael figure calls for faster AIB sell off

Image: Photocall Ireland

Brian Hayes says the Government should speed up the sale of AIB shares.

Fine Gael MEP, Brian Hayes has called on the State to sell down its shareholding in AIB as soon as practical, assuming favourable markets.

He says it should commit to selling at least 50% of its 99.8% shareholding by 2019.

While the government is planning to float an initial 25% shareholding in AIB in the first half of next year, this implies a faster pace of further sell-down than is planned by the current minority administration.

According to the Programme for Government, the State will not sell more than 25% of any bank shareholding - AIB or Permanent TSB – before 2018.

On Breakfast Business told Vincent Wall that "pragmatism rather than ideology" must guide the decision to sell AIB shares, and that a continued majority ownership of the bank’s shares by the Government could deter much-needed competition from entering the market.

The value of the State's holding in AIB has continued to increase, it was worth €11.7bn at the end of last year according to estimates from the National Treasury Management Agency.

This represents a 25% increase compared to 12 months previously. The performance update from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which is part of the NTMA, estimated that the total value of the State's remaining stakes in AIB and Bank of Ireland is worth more than €13.5bn.