Irish banks soar but analysts are sceptical

Steve Dinneen
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SHARES in Ireland’s stricken banks soared yesterday as the market reacted positively to its bailout plans.

Bank of Ireland gained 16.6 per cent and Allied Irish Banks gained 3.8 per cent amid hopes the rescue package can keep the banking system afloat.

However, analysts are sceptical that the initial injection will be enough and say the government’s plans are not well enough defined.

Ireland was last night thrashing out the details of how its banking system will make immediate use of the €10bn (£8.4bn) of capital made available to it yesterday.

In a bid to boost confidence in Irish lenders, the central bank raised its target core Tier 1 capital ratio, a measure of financial strength, to 12 per cent from eight per cent, with even stricter requirements on some lenders.

As a result, Dublin will almost certainly end up effectively nationalising Allied Irish Banks, once the country’s largest-listed lender, which the central bank wants to maintain a core Tier 1 ratio of 14 per cent.

It requires a further €5.3bn on top of the €4.5bn it had already been told it would need.

The state will be also forced to acquire a majority stake – estimated at around 60 per cent – in Bank of Ireland as the lender struggles to meet the fresh capital requirements.

Bank of Ireland will require €2.2bn extra, which it says it will attempt to raise itself.
Irish Life & Permanent says it will not need to dip into the Irish bank bailout fund to meet the capital requirements.

The lender must raise €100m by the end of May to meet the 12 per cent core Tier 1 capital ratio but it says its banking arm will raise the required capital from its own resources.

The bank said the plan to overcapitalise Irish lenders will reassure foreign investors.

Irish Life is the only Irish lender to avoid a state bailout and was not required to transfer any loans to the country’s “bad bank”.

Ireland has earmarked €35bn in total to help restructure the banking sector.