24 Dec 2010

Fourth Major Irish bank nationalised

1:31 pm on 24 December 2010

The High Court in Ireland has approved the nationalisation of what used to be the country's biggest bank.

The government will pump nearly $7 billion into Allied Irish Banks (AIB), which has already received more than $6 billion of Irish taxpayers' money as part of a bailout package agreed last year.

The capital injection gives the government a 49% stake in AIB, but that percentage will soar once planned sell-offs of some bank divisions are completed early next year.

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan blocked $70 million worth of bonuses due to be paid out to AIB executives.

AIB is the fourth Irish bank to be nationalised by the government.

Its share priceplunged almost 20% on news of the court approval.

Irish banks were hit particularly hard during the financial crisis because of a severe property crash in the Republic.