In advance of next week’s $1 billion Anglo bond repayment (congrats to all our international hedgie readers), the government talking point that repayment of this bond doesn’t cost the taxpayer a cent is now getting a full rollout, with Michael Noonan on RTE Radio’s News at One today and Leo Varadkar on Tonight with Vincent Browne both at it.
Both ministers were insistent that because the IBRC (i.e. the new Anglo-INBS institution) has sold loans worth €2.5 billion for a loss of €500 million, thus realising €2 billion, that paying the remaining €3.7 billion in unguaranteed senior bonds won’t cost the Irish taxpayer any money.
Let’s make this as simple as possible: Even if you wanted to view this repayment as costless because Anglo has its “own funds” to repay the bond, ask yourself who would be the beneficiary of these “own funds” if they weren’t used to repay unguaranteed bondholders. Every cent going to these bondholders is coming from Irish taxpayers.
Slightly less simplistically, Leo acknowledges that we are putting large amounts of money in the form of the promissory note payments (“the only money we’re putting in is the promissory note” — ah yes, “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln ….”). How did they arrive at the figure for the promissory note? The figure was arrived at by figuring how much money was required to keep Anglo solvent, i.e. paying back all its bonds debts. If we didn’t pay back the unguaranteed bondholders, then we could revise the promissory note payments down.
I know that the remaining unguaranteed bond debts are dwarfed by the approximately €40 billion Anglo owes in ELA but this talking point is irritating all the same. Honestly guys, please stop.