Goldman chosen to advise on AIB sale

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Ireland has appointed Goldman Sachs to advise on the sale of AIB, finance minister Michael Noonan said yesterday, as the state looks to recover all 21 billion euros (£16bn) spent on rescuing the country’s second-largest bank by assets.

The appointment of an adviser marks a stepping stone in Ireland’s bid to get private investment into AIB after its 2010 nationalisation, but no transaction is likely until the second half of this year.

The Department of Finance said that Goldman Sachs was selected after a ‘mini tender’ in December during which banks on a pre-approved panel were invited to bid for the business.

A source said Goldman Sachs’ pitch included doing the work free of charge.

Ireland increased its valuation of its AIB investment to 13.3 billion euros at the end of last year, including 1.6 billion euros of contingent capital instruments, up from 11.6 billion euros a year earlier. It will need to sell the bank at a significantly higher value for the state to get break even on its 21 billion euros investment.

“Much of the banking-related work in the Department of Finance this year will focus on AIB,” Noonan said.

“Officials within my department are working with AIB on reconfiguring the capital structure. Goldman Sachs International has been appointed to provide financial advice.”