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Bank of Ireland (BOI) Shareholders Approve Watsa and Ross Investment

September 10, 2011 | About:

Bank of Ireland ( BOI ) shareholders approved the purchase of a 34.96% stake in the company by foreign investors. Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings, Wilbur Ross, Fidelity Investments, Capital Research and Management company as well as Kennedy Wilson purchased 10.5 billion shares in Ireland’s largest beleaguered bank.

The investment leaves BOI as the only Irish bank not to be nationalised.

The shares were purchased from the National Pension Reserve Fund which manages the Irish States Bank of Ireland share holding. The State will see its BOI stake fall from 42.1% to 15.1%.

The foreign investors previously held a 9.8% stake in the bank. The additional purchase of shares, which bought the new share holding over the 30% mandatory takeover level, required a waiver from the Irish Takeover Panel as the investors were deemed to be acting in concert.

At the Bank of Ireland extra-ordinary general meeting ( EGM ), the banks third shareholder meeting this summer, shareholders overwhelmingly voted in the positive with an affirmation of a 99.56% majority. The state and the foreign investors were not allowed to vote.

Two of the five investors will place on the board of BOI which consists of 10 members.

Chairman Pat Molloy said that the injection of foreign investment is in ‘the best interest of the bank’s shareholders, as a whole’.

Molloy continued "The directors believe the investors to be of high quality, credible and long-term value-focused and the increase in their holding above the 30% threshold further strengthens the bank’s share register and emphasises their support for the bank."

Each of the investors has indicated that they will manage their position independently of each other.

Disclosure: None

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Stockbroker @ www.market-swings.com

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