Deal sweetener

An announcement on Bank of Ireland's proposals is expected as early as tomorrow.

Bank of Ireland refused to comment on the reports carried in a number of newspapers, but sources in Dublin financial circles said the bank was determined to scotch the idea in the market its offer was a nil-premium one. Bank of Ireland has yet to spell out the terms of its merger proposal, which would create Europe's 11th largest bank with a market capitalisation of about $22 billion.

The Sunday Telegraph said the Irish bank will announce plans early this week to offer up to £1.5 billion cash to sweeten the share swap and will outline potential cost savings and revenue gains of £300 million by combining the groups. The Sunday Times said the cash element would be more like £1 billion.