Latest sale of state share in AIB was likely to resurrect debate over banker pay, officials warned

Department of Finance officials flagged concerns that the latest sale of AIB shares which would leave the state shareholding below 50% would reignite debate over restrictions on pay for senior bankers there.

Civil servants told Finance Minister Michael McGrath that the state having a minority share in the bank would mean little “in practical terms”, but would be seen as a significant milestone.

A submission on the latest stage of Project Viking, the selling down of the state’s stake in AIB, said: “Such an outcome will garner media attention as there is now a strong perceived link with possible further changes in remuneration restrictions.

“This is something the Minister may wish to consider … however, we would not wish such considerations to delay any share sale if conditions are right.”

The state ended up selling a significant chunk of their AIB shares in late June yielding €480.5 million and reducing their shareholding in the bank from 51.9% to 46.9%.

Officials said the €3.64 per share price was the “highest we believed we could push investors without losing significant orders” according to a post-sale briefing for the finance minister.