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Irish finance minister launches AIB IPO

Outgoing Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan has greenlighted Allied Irish Banks Plc's long-awaited IPO, outlining plans to list around 25% of the government's stake in the bank on the Irish and London stock exchanges.

Noonan, who is set to step down as the state's finance minister, said the bank's "strong progress" and current market conditions supported the decision to go ahead with the IPO "in the coming weeks." The listing could fetch the government up to €3 billion, The Irish Times reported May 31, citing analysts.

Terms of the listing, including the price range at which the shares will be sold, are expected to be published mid-June, following the U.K. general election. Noonan further said in an interview with RTÉ News that the price of AIB's shares might go up if the U.K.'s Conservative Party, led by British Prime Minister Theresa May, could secure a strong majority in the election.

As well as institutional investors, the offer will be open to members of the public in Ireland and the U.K., who will be able to apply for ordinary shares through an intermediary, but must commit to a minimum investment of €10,000.

The Irish government, through the finance minister, will receive gross proceeds from the listing, while AIB will not issue new shares as part of the IPO and will not receive any proceeds.

The government owns about 99.9% of AIB, and has so far recouped €6.6 billion in capital, fees, dividends and coupons from its investment of about €20.8 billion in the bank.