Allied Irish Banks PLC said Thursday that it would increase the number of its American depositary receipts in a 3-for-1 split.

That should increase liquidity and make shares more accessible to investors in the United States, said Frank Bramble, the chairman and chief executive officer of Allied Irish's U.S. division and its principal subsidiary, First Maryland Bancorp.

Allied Irish has a 6-to-1 ratio of ordinary shares to depositary receipts. The split would reduce that ratio to 2 to 1 and triple the number of ADRs outstanding, to 66 million.

The split would apply to holders of the receipts as of May 13.

American depositary receipts are issued in the United States by a foreign company in place of shares normally traded on a foreign stock exchange.

Allied Irish is Ireland's largest banking company. It has assets of $62 billion and operations in Ireland, Britain, the United States, and Poland.

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