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August 6, 2009

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AIB sees sign of recovery via stocks

ALLIED Irish Banks said yesterday it expected bad debts to peak this year after a surge in the first-half, helping boost its shares 7 percent as investors bet on a new chapter for the beleaguered lender.

One in four of AIB's loans are now either impaired or at risk compared to about one in 10 at the end of last year as Ireland's spectacular property crash lays bare the lender's exposure to struggling developers.

Dublin is setting up a "bad bank" to remove risky property assets from the Irish financial sector, and investors hope that this will mark a turning point for AIB, along with an operational performance in line with expectations and a lift in stock prices.

In early trade yesterday, shares in AIB were up 6.9 percent at 1.83 euros (US$2.63).

"We do believe that the provision (for bad debts) will peak this year," AIB Chief Executive Officer Eugene Sheehy told analysts.


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