Bidders seek guarantees on Ireland’s EBS-report

DUBLIN, Aug 22 (BestGrowthStock) – Private equity groups looking to
take a majority stake in Ireland’s EBS [EBSBS.UL] are to seek
assurances from the Irish government that it will help bear any
future exceptional losses at the building society, The Sunday
Times reported.
The state-run group received bids from private equity
groups, JC Flowers, Doughty Hanson [DOUHA.UL] and Cardinal Asset
Management and bancassurer Irish Life & Permanent (IPM.I: ) this
week as it seeks to shore up its capital base following a
property market collapse.

Citing sources, the newspaper said the private equity firms
were all seeking downside risk protection clauses as part of any
deal.

JC Flowers and Doughty Hanson declined to comment on the
report. No one from EBS or Irish Life & Permanent was
immediately available to comment.

EBS has said it needs to find 775 million euros ($992.8
million) by the end of the year and could achieve this through a
combination of private and public sources.

The Sunday Times said the private equity firms will seek to
buy between 60 percent and 70 percent of EBS and could invest up
to 500 million euros in the bank. The newspaper said Irish Life
& Permanent is prepared to offer up to a 50 percent stake.

The bancassurer declined to comment on the report.

The Irish government has already injected 100 million euros
into the building society and has promised a further 250 million
of the overall amount through a promissory note, which spreads
actual payments out over up to 15 years.

Dublin has said it would provide the rest of the money if
EBS is unable to source the capital elsewhere.

Ireland’s building societies, which are owned by their
customers and are traditionally conservative institutions, lent
aggressively during the go-go years of the “Celtic Tiger”
economy and have been burnt badly by the property sector
collapse.
($1=.7806 Euro)
(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Bidders seek guarantees on Ireland’s EBS-report