DUBLIN (Reuters) – Bank of Ireland said it has sold or accepted repayment of 5 billion euros (4.4 billion pounds) of loans in the United States, Britain, Europe and the Middle East at a discount of around 9 percent, putting it on track meet its targets under an EU-IMF bailout.
Ireland’s government pledged to radically shrink its domestic banking sector after a disastrous binge on property loans, and Bank of Ireland, the country’s largest lender, is to sell 10 billion euros in loans and accept repayment of another 20 billion euros worth by the end of 2013.
Bank of Ireland, the only domestic lender to avoid falling into state control, said it had raised 4.54 billion euros from the sale of the loan books, a higher price than expected, meaning there was no impact on its core tier one ratio.
Bank of Ireland had a pro forma core tier one ratio, a key measure of financial strength, of 15.4 percent at the end of June.
Ireland’s banks need to shrink their loan books to reduce their dependence on emergency funding from the European Central Bank and the Irish central bank, which at the end of September stood at 153.6 billion euros.
Bank of Ireland needs to dispose of another 5 billion euros worth of loans by the end of 2013, and it said it was making good progress.
It said it was in advanced talks with potential purchasers of project finance loans.
The loans already sold include a U.S. commercial real estate portfolio valued at $1.13 billion, some 1.33 billion pounds of UK commercial property loans sold to Kennedy Wilson and institutional partners for 1.07 billion pounds, and 1.23 billion pounds of British residential mortgages sold to a unit of Britain’s Nationwide Building Society for 1.13 billion pounds.
Bank of Ireland also sold a portfolio of project finance loans with total commitments of 670 million euros to GE Energy Financial Services . The loans relate to a portfolio of energy assets across North America, the UK, continental Europe and the Middle East.