Lloyds carries on its Irish property retreat with £1.6bn sale

Lloyds Banking Group is to put €2bn (£1.6bn) of Irish property loans on the market as it continues to retreat from Ireland.

The loans are a legacy of Lloyds' 2008 takeover of Halifax Bank of Scotland, which included a vast amount of bad debts run up during the boom.

The €2bn portfolio is likely to sell for less than face value.

A spokesman for Lloyds declined to comment.

The sale is the latest in a number of similar, though mostly smaller, portfolios that have been put on the market by banks including AIB and Bank of Ireland. Lloyds is 40 per cent owned by the taxpayer after the 2008 rescue by the UK government.

In 2010 it took the decision to quit the Irish market by shutting down its operations in the republic.

The bank has taken £11.8bn in impairment charges on Irish loans since 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

That means around 40 per cent of the original value of the Irish loan book has been written off.

Lloyds said in July that its exposure to Ireland is "being closely managed, with a dedicated UK-based business support team in place to manage".

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