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AIB Said Set to Win EU Approval for Restructuring Plan

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May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Allied Irish Banks Plc, the country’s second-largest lender by assets, is set to win European Commission approval for a restructuring plan tied to its 21 billion-euro ($29 billion) taxpayer rescue, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The final verdict on the Dublin-based lender’s plan will be released as early as tomorrow, said the people, who asked not to be identified, as the matter is private. Officials from AIB, the European Commission and Irish government, which owns 99.8 percent of the bank, declined to comment.

The bank, which almost collapsed after Ireland’s real estate collapse, has already implemented much of what is in the plan, shrinking its balance sheet and workforce since its initial state rescue five years ago. Chief Executive Officer David Duffy, 52, said on March 5 he didn’t expect any “material issues” in the final plan.

The bank, which filed the first draft of its plan in 2009, may start repaying its bailout after European stress tests this year, Duffy said in March.

Allied Irish, Bank of Ireland Plc and Permanent TSB Group Holdings Plc are the only three lenders left of the six rescued by the Irish government since 2008. Bailed-out lenders must have their restructuring plans approved by European authorities. Bank of Ireland’s plan was approved in 2010, while Permanent TSB’s is still pending.

Since its bailout, AIB sold its Polish unit to Banco Santander SA in 2001 for 3.1 billion euros and its minority stake in Buffalo, New York-based M&T Bank Corp. for about 1.5 billion euros. It has also disposed of securities firm Goodbody Stockbrokers and asset management unit, and eliminated 2,500 jobs through a program of voluntary job cuts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Brennan in Dublin at jbrennan29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net Dara Doyle

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