Ireland finance ministry appoints bookrunners for AIB IPO

(Reuters)Ireland's finance ministry said on Thursday it has appointed five banks to act as book runners for a potential share sale of state-owned Allied Irish Banks (ALBK.I), in a further signal it could launch an initial public offering in the coming weeks.

In January, finance minister Michael Noonan raised the possibility that the government could try to return part of the bank to private ownership as early as May as markets improve.

The government said on Thursday that Citigroup (C.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N), Goodbody Stockbrokers, JPMorgan (JPM.N) and UBS (UBSG.S) have now been appointed as book runners for a potential sale.

They will join Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and Davy Stockbrokers who were appointed as global coordinators in December.

Last year, Ireland pushed back the timetable for selling its stake, citing unfavorable market conditions, but Noonan has said rising bank share prices suggest he might get the value needed.

The 99.9 percent state-owned bank became the first domestic-owned Irish lender to restart dividends since the financial crash almost a decade ago when it proposed a 250 million euro payment earlier this month after reporting strong margin and capital growth during 2016.

(Reporting by Rachel Armstrong; editing by Carolyn Cohn)

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