Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (163, 164)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

163. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to his announcement of the sale of Irish Life to Great West Life for €1.3 billion, if he will confirm the price earnings ratio implied by the sale; and if he will provide a comparison with price earnings ratios of comparable companies. [11348/13]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

164. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to his announcement of the sale of Irish Life to Great West Life for €1.3bn, the reason he was unable to achieve a premium on the sale price reported in December 2011, in view of improving economic sentiment in the State and in the eurozone. [11349/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 163 and 164 together.

I can inform the Deputy that the price earnings ratio implied by the sale of Irish Life is 12x, based on expected 2012 earnings. I have been informed that no listed companies in Ireland are comparable to Irish Life. I am advised by Goldman Sachs, which acted as adviser to the State in the sale of Irish Life, that the price earnings ratio of the listed UK companies that are most comparable to Irish Life - Aviva, Old Mutual, Legal & General, Standard Life and Resolution - ranges from 8.6x to 16.1x and that the average P/E multiple of this peer group is 11x. It should be noted that the comparable companies cited operate in very different markets to Ireland, where the life assurance market is challenged. The implied ratio implied by the Irish Life sale compares favourably with the valuation of this peer group. I can advise the Deputy that the price achieved represents a 30% premium to the net assets of Irish Life.

I can inform the Deputy that the €1.3 billion consideration agreed for the sale of Irish Life is a 30% premium to the price that was achievable when the previous bid process was suspended in November 2011. As the Deputy is aware, since November 2011 valuation multiples in the life insurance sector have improved, as has sentiment towards Ireland and the Eurozone, while the underlying life assurance industry in Ireland has remained challenging. These circumstances allowed the State to recoup in full the investment made by the taxpayer in Irish Life and at a price which was significantly better than could have been achieved in November 2011 . A fair value opinion which supported the decision taken by the State was received from our advisors Goldman Sachs. I believe the price achieved for Irish Life represents a very good deal for the Irish taxpayer.