Bank of Ireland Set for Majority State Ownership

Bank of Ireland have released details of their capital raising plans.  The fraction of government ownership of the bank will depend upon how many subordinated bondholders take equity instead of an alternative cash offer. Various scenarios are presented but it seems pretty likely that the bank will end up in majority state ownership. So we’re likely to have nationalised all our domestic banks. We await the long-predicted frogs and locusts.

Bank of Ireland Capital Raising Plans

The Irish Times reports about Bank of Ireland’s capital raising plans here and provides links to all the relevant documentation so I don’t have to.

It is, of course, good news that there’s some sign that private investors are willing to invest in one of the Irish banks. Still (warning — malcontent comment alert) it’s perhaps best to put this in context. These private investors are now willing to do this because the Irish government is buying a portfolio of €12.2 billion in property and development loans from the bank, only €5.4 billion of which are performing, for €7.9 billion (assuming the initial 35% discount is applied to the whole book.)

The idea that private capital sources would renew their interest in investing in the Irish banks after loans had been transferred to an asset mangement agency was also an opinion offered last year by advocates of temporary nationalisation. Whether the route we’ve travelled to get to this juncture has been the right one is still an open question.

It is perhaps because there are still so many questions hanging over his approach to the banking crisis that Brian Lenihan persists with a rhetorical strategy in relation to the banks that largely depends on overstatements, half-truths and falsehoods such as his comments on Morning Ireland today about people who wanted to “nationalise the whole system”, about how temporary nationalisation would have lead to other banks becoming “just like Anglo” and how the bank guarantee scheme has been cost free, indeed how we’ve made a tidy profit out of it.