Friday, February 19, 2010

Economics 19/02/2010: Bank of Ireland deal

And so it comes to pass - the saga of missing dividend from Bank of Ireland, and the taxpayers are left holding the bag... The background to the story is here. Karl Whelan's post here gives the relevant links to the documents. And my analysis is as following:

Following the conversion of dividend due (€250 million) from the Bank of Ireland preference shares owned by the state to ordinary shares on 22 of February, the state will emerge as an almost 16% owner of the bank equity.

The relevant ISE document stipulates that:
"As a consequence of this and, in accordance with Bye Law 6(I)(4), the Directors of the Bank of Ireland announce that on 22 February 2010 it will issue and allot to the NPRFC 184,394,378 units of Ordinary Stock being the number of units equal to the aggregate cash amount of the 2010 dividend of €250.4m divided by 100% of the average price per unit of ordinary stock in the 30 trading days prior to and including today's date. Application will be made in due course for the listing of these units of stock. This increases the units of Ordinary Stock of Bank of Ireland in issue to 1,188,611,367. As a result the NPRFC will own 15.73 per cent of the issued Ordinary Stock (excluding the NPRFC Warrant Instrument)"

Which means a massive shareholder dilution and a significant set back to the BofI ability to raise equity. Recall that the BofI was planning for a €1 billion rights issue which would have meant roughly a 38.6% dilution of existent shareholder rights. Now, with a preemptive 16% dilution by the state, a rights issue planned will mean a 44% dilution post-rights should the price of the shares remain constant at Monday. And this is before we factor in 25% option on ordinary shares that is held within the preference shares we already have.

Of course it won't. A rational valuation model of shareprice will require that the price declines roughly 15% on Friday close post State dilution. Which means that market cap of the BofI will fall, at current average to €1,353 million, implying the post-right dilution of 48%.

In a way, Government taking the stake in BofI prior to rights issue at current valuation means the taxpayer is buying an asset that is likely to drop in value almost 50% within months after the State takes its stake. With one sweep of the pen, Minister Lenihan just signed off on an investment - using our cash - that will be worth 1/2 of its current value once BofI goes into equity raising.

Of, course, a much grimmer reality beckons should the State move tonight spell the end to the BofI equity issue prospects. In this case, today's announcement forces the Government to fully recapitalise the bank out of taxpayers funds, leading to a 90% plus State ownership and a massive liability to the taxpayers.

Irony of all ironies - the Government will end up transferring bad assets from its own bank to its own holding entity - Nama. What can possibly go wrong?


PS: In their September 3, 2009 note titled "Irish Banking - Crossing the Rubicon", Bloxham Stockbrokers said: "There is already a €825 million benefit to taxpayers from recovery in the market value of Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland: Holding options worth a 25% stake in both AIB and Bank of Ireland, the taxpayer has benefited by €825 million as a result of the shareholding. This is apart from the benefit of the annual 8% yield from the €7 billion injection into the two main banks, which adds a further €560 million to the return per annum."

Run this by us, please, Bloxham -
€825 million? Again? Crossing the Rubicon it was.

Wanna see some more fantasy estimates from the brokers? Davy:
"
Bank of Ireland could raise €1.5 billion in September and pay off some of the €3.5 billion in Government preference shares, according to stockbrokers Davy. ...In a report on Bank of Ireland today, Davy Research says the effect of a rights issue, in which the bank would issue more shares, could be used to pay funds back to the State and potentially leave the Government with a stake of 7%. "

7%? Run this by us, please, Davy Research - 7% state ownership? Right.

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