Bailed-out Allied Irish Banks returns to stock market

Ireland has returned Allied Irish Banks (AIB) to the stock market in a landmark moment that underscores the lender's recovery after it was saved from collapse during the financial crisis.

Ireland's government hailed a 'significant milestone' as it sold shares in Allied Irish Banks. Picture: Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images

The Irish government completed the biggest European share sale this year, raising €3 billion (£2.6bn) in a flotation that valued AIB at €12bn.

The move carried an offer price of €4.40 per share and will see the state continue to hold a 71 per cent to 75 per cent stake, with a view to selling it off in the coming years.

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Paschal Donohoe, Ireland’s finance minister, said the initial public offering (IPO) had created a “strong platform” for the government to recover all the money it had invested into AIB during the 2008 banking crisis.

He said: “The successful completion today of AIB’s IPO represents a significant milestone in the government’s long-held policy to dispose of our banking investments, returning them to the private sector over time.

“The offer was very well received and attracted high demand from investors everywhere it was marketed, reflecting the strength of AIB’s investment story and prospects, and the attractions of Ireland’s vibrant and growing economy.”

AIB’s exposure to Ireland’s property market crash nine years ago brought the country to its knees and triggered a €21bn bailout to help shore up the nation’s economy.

The bank said in March that it had returned a further €1.8bn to the state, meaning it had paid back €6.8bn of the €21bn bailout fund.

The lender also reported an annual pre-tax profit of €1.7bn earlier this year, and delivered a dividend for the first time in nine years.

AIB’s shares will now be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.