Rights issue to see state’s stake in BoI fall to 15pc

THE Bank of Ireland (BoI) became the only bank in the country to avoid state control yesterday after a successful rights issue that will see the government’s stake halve to 15 per cent.

Close to 60 per cent of the bank’s shareholders took up their rights in the €1.9bn offering, with demand stronger than expected after the government announced yesterday that institutional shareholders had agreed to buy €1.1bn’s worth of the state’s shares in BoI.

Excluding the government’s take-up, 36.8 per cent of shareholders took advantage of their rights, versus expectations of 25 per cent.

The bank named the new institutional shareholders who agreed to buy the €1.1bn stake as Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings, Wilbur Ross’ WL Ross & Co, Fidelity Investments, the Capital Group and Kennedy Wilson.