EU lets Bank of Ireland keep insurance unit, extends dividend ban

BRUSSELS, July 9 Tue Jul 9, 2013 5:52am EDT

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BRUSSELS, July 9 (Reuters) - Bank of Ireland won EU regulatory approval on Tuesday to hold on to its insurance unit, but will be required to sell other units and banned from paying dividends beyond 2015 under an amended restructuring plan.

"In the light of various changes in the market circumstances since the 2011 decision, BOI is in particular no longer required to divest New Ireland Assurance Company (NIAC)," the European Commission said in a statement.

"Such a divestment would negatively affect BOI's capital and capacity to return to profitability and would slow down progress towards long term viability," it said.

Two years ago, the European Union's executive had ordered Bank of Ireland to sell NIAC in return for approving state aid granted to the bank.

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