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New Ulster Bank boss refuses to rule out a merger deal

By Donal O’Donovan

The new head of Ulster Bank in the Republic has refused to rule out a merger deal with KBC or Permanent tsb, but said his main focus is growing the country’s third biggest lender organically.

Newly-appointed Ulster Bank Ireland chief executive Gerry Mallon — who was in charge of Danske Bank in NI for eight years — said the Irish unit of Royal Bank of Scotland has become a more strategic asset for its UK parent, Royal Bank of Scotland, as a result of the Brexit vote in June.

Asked if the bank was in talks to combine with any other lenders to challenge AIB and Bank of Ireland, he refused to rule out a potential tie-up.

“I am interested in any opportunity that makes strategic or commercial sense,” he said.

He was speaking after the bank published a €155m (£131m) profit for the first half of the year, down more than a fifth from the same time last year.

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