Irish Life & Permanent Plc (IPM) said it expects to start talks with the government in the first quarter of next year on a potential merger including two other lenders.
“The long-term restructuring discussions will probably seriously commence in the first quarter of 2010,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Murphy said on a conference call with analysts today. “And clearly we’ll be well positioned for that.”
The head of Irish Life’s Permanent TSB consumer unit, David Guinane, said in September there had been some “speculative conversation” with the country’s finance ministry about the creation of a so-called third banking force involving Permanent TSB and the two building societies.
The possibility of a merger comes as the government prepares to pay the country’s biggest banks 54 billion euros ($80.5 billion) for property loans to free up lending through the National Asset Management Agency. Ireland has already injected 3.5 billion euros into both Bank of Ireland Plc and Allied Irish Banks Plc (ALBK) and nationalized Anglo Irish Bank Corp. Murphy said that the government was currently focusing on setting up NAMA.
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