Competition watchdog to fully investigate AIB and Ulster Bank loan book deal

IRELAND’S COMPETITION WATCHDOG has announced an in-depth investigation into a proposed deal between AIB and Ulster Bank.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is moving into a full Phase 2 investigation into a planned acquisition by AIB of Ulster Bank’s loan book – a portfolio of performing commercial loans.

In a statement, the CPCC said it had decided to investigate whether the deal could significantly reduce competition in the Irish market.

“Following a thorough preliminary investigation, the CCPC has determined that a full investigation is necessary in order to establish whether the proposed transaction could result in a substantial lessening of competition in the state,” she said. in a press release.

“The CCPC will publish its Phase 1 Determination no later than 60 business days after the date of the determination and after giving the parties the opportunity to request that confidential information be removed from the published version.

“All parties wishing to send submissions are invited to do so, by email to [email protected], by 4.30pm on Friday 21 January 2022.”

In June, the banks reached a €4.2bn deal to see AIB take over business and corporate lending from Ulster Bank.

Under the agreement, AIB will acquire the portfolio and approximately 280 employees will transfer to the bank.

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AIB CEO Colin Hunt said the acquisition “would further support the bank’s ambitious growth plans and position us to support Ireland’s business community and economic recovery as we emerge from the pandemic. “.

Earlier in the year, NatWest – Ulster Bank’s parent company – announced plans to pull the bank out of the Republic of Ireland within the next few years.

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