UPDATE 1-Bank of Ireland shares fall 6 pct as Fairfax sells stake

Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:47am EDT
 
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By Graham Fahy and Conor Humphries

DUBLIN, March 31 (Reuters/IFR) - Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings has sold half of its 5.8 percent stake in Bank of Ireland for more than triple what it paid for it in 2011, a source with knowledge of the deal said, pushing the share price down 6 percent.

The Canadian property and casualty insurer run by investor Prem Watsa on Tuesday sold 935 million shares for 36 euro cents apiece, the source told Thomson Reuters publication IFR.

Bank of Ireland shares were down 6 percent at 36.2 euro cents at 0725 GMT following the sale, which was managed by Deutsche Bank.

Fairfax bought an 8.7 percent stake in 2011 as part of a consortium including U.S. billionaire Wilbur Ross when the shares were trading at 10 euro cents, and cut that to 5.8 percent last March.

The 2011 consortium bought a total 35 percent stake in the months after Ireland signed up to an EU/IMF bailout in a deal that kept the bank out of state control.

Ross sold his last 5.5 percent stake in Bank of Ireland last June at 26.5 euro cent per share. (Reporting by Graham Fahy; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)