Permanent TSB, NatWest agrees terms on Ulster Bank deal

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The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Ireland

By Emma-Victoria Farr and Graham Fahy

LONDON/DUBLIN (Reuters) - Permanent TSB said on Friday that it had finalised a deal to buy the loan books, branches and asset finance business of NatWest Group's Ulster Bank.

Permanent TSB (PTSB) said it will pay 6.4 billion euros ($7.25 billion) in cash and issue 90.9 million shares to NatWest in exchange for 25 of Ulster Bank's 88 branches, as well as Ulster's non-tracker mortgage and micro-SME lending books and its asset finance business.

Following the deal, which is expected to complete in late 2022 or early 2023, NatWest will hold a 16.66% stake in PTSB.

"This is a decisive step in transforming Permanent TSB to be Ireland's best personal and small business bank," PTSB chief executive Eamonn Crowley said in a statement.

The deal will increase PTSB's mortgage book by around 40% and its branch network by around 30%, the bank said. The bank's business lending will triple in size relative to its level at the end on 2020.

The deal, which was first announced in July, comes as NatWest sells off its Ulster Bank businesses.

"With the withdrawal of Ulster Bank and KBC from the Irish market, a PTSB with greater scale has a more important role than ever in providing meaningful competition for consumers," Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said in a statement.

NatWest said that it has now reached agreements to sell 58% of Ulster Bank's total gross lending portfolio and around 65% of its credit risk weighted assets.

($1 = 0.8831 euros)

(Reporting by Emma-Victoria Farr and Graham Fahy; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)

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