The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, today announces his intention to sell part of the State’s 71.12% directed shareholding in AIB Group Plc (the “Company”) over approximately the next six months through a pre-arranged trading plan that will be managed by Merrill Lynch International (”BofA Securities”). BofA Securities was appointed to the role from the Department of Finance’s Panel of Financial Advisors following a mini-tender competition.
Under the trading plan, BofA Securities has been mandated to effect a measured and orderly sell down of shares in the Company on behalf of the Minister. The Minister has instructed BofA Securities to target a sale of up to, but no more than, 15% of the expected aggregate total trading volume in shares of the Company over the duration of the trading plan. The number of shares to be sold will depend on market conditions, amongst other factors.
In order to ensure that the taxpayers’ interest is protected, shares will not be sold below a certain price per share, which the Department of Finance will keep under review. The trading plan will become operational in mid-January and will terminate no later than six months thereafter, but can be renewed at the Minister’s discretion.
The decision to launch the trading plan does not preclude the Minister from executing other transactions in the State’s directed shareholding in the company, that achieve value for money for taxpayers, including during the term of the trading plan. As such, the Minister will keep other sale options open, including accelerated bookbuilds or directed buybacks should these opportunities present themselves.
Commenting on the news today, the Minister said:
“With our share trading programme proving successful in reducing our stake in Bank of Ireland, I am now announcing the restart of our phased exit from the State’s larger investment in AIB. The bank’s financial performance has improved significantly while investor appetite for banks is also recovering, so these conditions provide a supportive environment to reduce our shareholding in the bank over time. Given the thinner liquidity in AIB shares, I expect the pace of share sales to be slower than what we’ve seen at Bank of Ireland, but it is important that we make further progress on what will be a multi-year journey”.
The Minister for Finance currently owns circa 1930 million ordinary shares in the Company through the directed portfolio of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF). These shares represent 71.12% of the issued share capital of the Company. The Department of Finance is being advised by N.M. Rothschild & Sons Limited (“Rothschild & Co”) and William Fry LLP in relation to this transaction.
Notes to Editor
This press release, is not for publication or distribution, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, in, into or from the United States of America (including its territories or possessions, any state of the United States of America and the District of Columbia) (the “United States”), Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of South Africa, Switzerland or any other jurisdiction where to do so would constitute a violation of the relevant laws or regulations of such jurisdiction. The distribution of this press release may be restricted by law in certain jurisdictions and persons into whose possession any document or other information referred to herein comes should inform themselves about and observe any such restriction. Any failure to comply with these restrictions may constitute a violation of the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.
This press release does not contain or constitute an offer of, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, the securities referred to herein to any person in any jurisdiction, including in the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of South Africa, Switzerland or in any jurisdiction to whom or in which such offer or solicitati0n is unlawful.
The securities of AIB Group Plc described in this press release have not been and will not be registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or any applicable state or foreign securities laws and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act. There shall be no public offering of securities in the United States or any other jurisdiction.
Merrill Lynch International, which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (the ”PRA”) and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority (the ”FCA”) and the PRA, is acting exclusively for the Minister for Finance and no one else in connection with the trading plan and will not regard any other person(s) as its client in relation to the trading plan and will not be responsible to anyone other than the Minister for Finance for providing the protections afforded to clients of Merrill Lynch International nor for providing advice in relation to the trading plan. Neither Merrill Lynch International nor any of its directors, officers, employees, affiliates, and/or agents owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct or indirect, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person(s) in connection with the trading plan or the content of this announcement, other than to the Minister of Finance.
N.M. Rothschild & Sons Limited (“Rothschild & Co”), which is authorised and regulated by the FCA in the United Kingdom, is acting exclusively for the Minister for Finance and no one else in connection with the trading plan and will not be responsible to anyone other than the Minister for Finance for providing the protections afforded to clients of Rothschild & Co, nor for providing financial advice in connection with the trading plan. Neither Rothschild & Co nor any of its directors, officers, employees, affiliates, alliance partners and/or agents owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct or indirect, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person(s) who is/are not a client(s) of Rothschild & Co in connection with the trading plan.