(Bloomberg) -- The Irish government is no longer the biggest shareholder in Bank of Ireland Group Plc, a decade after it bailed out the lender during the global financial crisis.
The Irish state reduced its shareholding to 6.93% from 7.97% on January 17, a regulatory filing showed, having been reducing its stake from about 14% last summer. BlackRock Inc. is now the biggest investor in the bank, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“As of today, the State is no longer the largest shareholder in the Group,” Bank of Ireland Chief Executive Officer Francesca McDonagh said in an emailed statement. We “look forward to being the first Irish bank to return to full private ownership during this year.”
The Irish government spent about 4.7 billion euros ($5.3 billion) shoring up Bank of Ireland as part of a wider bailout of the nation’s banking system during the financial crisis. While the firm avoided overall state ownership, the government has been its largest investor since then.
Today’s move is likely to renew the debate over constraints on remuneration at the bank, which were introduced following the government’s bailout. Pay and pensions are currently capped at 600,000 euros and bonuses are effectively banned. McDonagh has recently spoken out against the restrictions and pointed to them after Chief Financial Officer Myles O’Grady stepped down in September.
See also: Irish Government to Reiterate Desire to Sell Down Bank Holdings
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