News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Wednesday 4th December 2013

BoI raises €580m to pay off part of bailout costs

 European Union competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia addresses a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Share issuance is part deal to repay €1.8 billion of Government preference shares

Bank of Ireland successfully raised €580 million of equity today as part of a deal to repay €1.8 billion of its State bailout.

Under its original €4.8 billion bailout back in 2009, Bank of Ireland had been entitled to purchase the 1.8 million preference shares back from the Government at €1 each before March 31st, 2014.

After that date, the price would have risen to €1.25 a share, which would increase the total cost to the bank to €2.25 billion.

Today’s issuance will redeem €537 million of the Government’s shares.

The remainder of the Government’s €1.8 billion holding will be redeemed through the issuance of debt to private investors secured on the preference shares.

In a statement, the bank said a total of 2.2 million of ordinary shares were place on the market at a price of €0.26, generating €580 million.

The placing represented approximately 7.4 per cent of the bank’s ordinary stock prior to the placing.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said earlier that the deal would generate a profit for the taxpayer on the shares, with the exact return depending on the outcome of the book-building exercises for both transactions.

The fundraising will bring to €4.1 billion the amount generated by the State from the financial sector over the past two years, including the €1.3 billion sale of Irish Lifeand the €1 billion redemption by Bank of Ireland of contingent convertible capital notes.

The preference shares have proved to be a good earner for the Government. Bank of Ireland paid a cash dividend on the shares of €188.3 million in each of the past two years and €214.5 million in 2011.

Bank of Ireland mandated Credit Suisse, Davy, Deutsche Bank and UBS as placing agents, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch joining the four as joint lead managers and underwriters for the debt sale to private investors.

New phone application will help Gardai track down abducted children


A new smartphone app to help in the search for abducted children was launched today as part of the inaugural national Missing Persons Day.

The app, which will be available to download on most smartphone platforms, is part of the Child Rescue Ireland (CRI) alert system that issues requests for the public’s help in tracking down missing children.

BROADCAST: The system allows information to be broadcast across all news outlets, social media, internet and electronic road signs when there is reasonable belief that a child has been abducted.

It will automatically release a notification when a CRI alert is issued.

The app also offers a space to securely maintain up-to-date information, including photos, of the smartphone user’s own children for easy access, should the need arise.

It was created with the help of the Vodafone Foundation Ireland, and is available free on Apple, Android and Windows media platforms.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said the app would enable more people to become aware when a CRI alert has been issued.

“Over 50pc of the public in Ireland own a smartphone, and as a result the potential for quickly reaching vast numbers of the population with critical information is enormous,” he said

The CRI alert system was launched in May last year and has been used twice since its inception.

MURDER: It was used for the first time last July when Eoghan Chada (10) and his five-year-old brother, Ruairi, disappeared with their father, Sanjeev.

The two boys were later discovered dead.

Chada, from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, has been sent forward for trial charged with the murder of his two sons.

Last week, an alert was issued after a mother and her three young children went missing from their Roscommon home. In that case, the family were found safe and well by a police officer in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

Strict criteria must be met before a CRI alert is issued.

These include that the child is under 18, there is a reasonable belief that the child has been abducted or there is a perceived immediate and serious risk to the child’s health or welfare.

Today’s launch at Farmleigh House was attended by Justice Minister Alan Shatter and members of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence.

Ireland top of new Forbes’ list of the best countries to do Business in


Three years ago, European governments and the International Monetary Fund sent Ireland a $113 billion (85 billion euro) bailout package to support the country’s budgetary needs and prop up the Irish banking system.

The loan came after the Irish economy was devastated by the Great Recession. The bursting of the housing bubble was at the center of Ireland’s problems, and even with recent gains, home prices are still roughly 50% off their 2007 highs. Moody’s Analytics doesn’t expect home prices to reach 2007 levels for another two decades.

Yet despite these economic troubles, Ireland still maintains an extremely pro-business environment that has attracted investments by some of the world’s biggest companies over the past decade. In Forbes’ eighth annual ranking of the Best Countries for Business, Ireland grabs the top spot for the first time.


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