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Bank of Ireland to pay first dividend in a decade

[DUBLIN] Bank of Ireland will resume shareholder dividends for the first time since the financial crisis after a "strong" 2017, it said Monday.

The Dublin-listed lender announced in its annual results statement that it will pay out 11.5 cents per share, or 124 million euros (S$200 million), in its first dividend for ten years.

Underlying pre-tax profit nudged just two per cent lower to 1.078 billion euros in 2017 from a year earlier, it added. Net or after-tax profit slid 17 percent to 664 million euros.

"I am delighted to report that the group had a strong performance in 2017," said chief executive Francesca McDonagh.

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"All trading divisions are profitable and have contributed to an underlying profit ... for the year.

"In Ireland, we have grown our market share in residential mortgages and we have the largest market share in the business banking sector." The lender also slashed impaired loans by 35 per cent to about 4.0 billion euros.

Ireland's once fast-growing Celtic Tiger economy crashed in 2008 after a decade of near double-digit growth that was fuelled by cheap credit and booming construction and property sectors.

This led to the nationalisation of other Irish banks and Ireland receiving an 85-billion-euro bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund in 2010.

Bank of Ireland itself was forced into partial state ownership by the meltdown, although it avoided nationalisation unlike some rivals.

AFP