Bank of Ireland completes sale

Bank of Ireland announced this morning that it has completed the sale of its Bristol & West branch network and associated deposit book to Britannia Building Society for a price of £150m.

It made the announcement to the Stock Exchange following UK High Court approval. Details of the sale were previously announced on May 24 2005.

The profit on disposal of the branch network is expected to amount to approximately £120 m (c. €175 m) after tax and will be reflected in the Interim Results for the half year ending September 30 2005.

The transaction is expected to be earnings neutral from a Bank of Ireland Group perspective going forward and have a positive impact on the Group cost/income ratio.

Bank of Ireland has retained the Bristol & West mortgage business, which will remain one of Bank of Ireland’s three strategic priorities for growth in the UK.

Brian Goggin, group chief executive of Bank of Ireland, says: “I am delighted the sale of the branch network and associated deposit book has now been completed. This deal has realised good value for Bank of Ireland shareholders, and is also a very positive outcome for our customers and our employees. The sale delivers on our stated strategy.

“Bank of Ireland remains committed to the UK market, which accounts for a significant element of the Group’s interests, and will remain a core market for the Group.”

Roy Keenan, chief executive of Bank of Ireland UK financial services adds: “The UK Division is now focused on growing our three key areas of operation: the successful Bristol & West and Bank of Ireland Mortgage business; our growing Business Banking operation; and the Post Office Financial Services operation in the UK, which gives us access to Europe’s largest financial retail network.”