Des Carville and CISI Ireland president, Frank O'Riordan ACSI
At a recent CISI Ireland presentation, Des Carville of the Irish Department of Finance delivered some fascinating insights into the highly successful flotation of Allied Irish Bank Group.
Carville, who headed up the team charged with ensuring it was a success, explained to a packed room that it was important to get investors to buy into the future and not the past. Communication was a critical success factor in this.
Carville and his team marketed the sale as “a dividend paying national champion”. He emphasised the diligent and highly disciplined approach used to ensure accurate and positive media understanding of the proposition. A proactive approach by the Department of Finance, its press office and the external PR advisers, involved two-way communications with key business journalists and business media outlets, ongoing updates and a speedy response to queries. This respect for journalist deadlines resulted in a positive commentary in the influential Financial Times
Communication in government and political circles, as well as with a wide cohort of advisers and AIB, was equally important over the three-year process.
The Department of Finance constantly evaluated the performance of the selling syndicate of banks in conjunction with its independent financial adviser, Rothschild. It was important that the bank ended up with a quality share register. A critical measure of success was to ensure a wide spread of high quality international institutional investors in order to help facilitate any further transactions – which they achieved.
The deal also had to navigate a volatile political environment both in Ireland and in the UK in the face of a snap general election.
Carville said that there was never a moment when the deal absolutely had to be done. The transaction was, at all times, driven by valuation considerations, and the ultimate decision-maker on all key decisions was the Minister for Finance.
Today AIB has a market capitalisation of over €14bn.
It was an interactive evening, with questions and comments from the floor on issues such as the need to balance achieving value for the taxpayer with a successful public offering, and whether other avenues, such as perhaps a trade sale, were ever on the table.
CISI Ireland is delighted with the success of the evening, the turnout, and the calibre of speaker and content.