The Government will begin to sell down part of its 13.9 per cent shareholding in Bank of Ireland over the next six months Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has confirmed, marking the State's first sale of any bank shares since 2017.
After receiving a €4.8 billion bailout in 2009, Bank of Ireland remains the only Irish lender to repay its bill to date, returning approximately €6 billion to the State.
Mr Donohoe said the announcement marked the start of a phased exit from the country's largest bank by assets.
Citigroup was appointed to manage the sale and instructed to target that up to, but no more than, 15 per cent of expected aggregate total trading volume in the bank be sold over the duration of the trading plan, the Department of Finance said.
The State's shareholding is worth close to €700 million and will not be sold below a certain undisclosed price per share which will be kept under review, the department added.
Bank of Ireland shares were 4.5 per cent lower at €4.30 by 07.35am.
The shares are up 31 per cent so far this year but 45 per cent lower than they were in 2018, before a Europe-wide slump in bank shares.
The Government's trading plan will become operational in the coming days and can be renewed at the Minister's discretion after six months.
Mr Donohoe said there were no imminent plans to sell shares in the other lenders.