Belfast Telegraph

AIB looks set to sell portfolio of loans worth multi-billions

By Gretchen Friemann

AIB is expected to pull the trigger on a multi-billion sale of soured loans in November as the Irish state-backed lender intensifies efforts to purge its balance sheet of non-performing assets amid an EU-wide crackdown on banks with persistently high non-performing assets.

It's understood that the bank, which is over 70% owned by the taxpayer, decided to swerve the sale of Danske's €2bn (£1.8bn) retail book.

The Danish bank enlisted Bank of America Merrill Lynch to sell the portfolio of performing loans earlier this year.

It is understood AIB cast an eye over the book but did not submit a bid for the portfolio, which contains a large volume of tracker mortages.

It's understood that final bids for the Danske book are due on September 25.

The US funds giant Pimco and Bank of Ireland remain in contention along with two other bidders.

AIB pledged to swiftly reduce its stack of NPLs prior to its return to the Dublin and London stock exchanges in June, when the Irish government offloaded €3.4bn (£3bn) shares in the bank.

Project Redwood, as this latest portfolio of soured loans has been dubbed, has been in the works for some time.

The bank drafted in advisers KPMG back in April.

The accountancy firm also handled the Project Cypress portfolio, which contained toxic loans with a face value of €400m.

The buy-to-let mortgages were sold to Goldman Sachs for half that sum.

According to sources the bulk of the Project Redwood loans are tied to investment properties.

AIB declined to comment on the rumours.

Belfast Telegraph

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