Two international investment firms have launched legal challenges to the Government's plans to buy back debt from bondholders in AIB at a discount.

The move follow last week's High Court order issued under the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act.

The new law gave the Minister for Finance new powers to restructure the banks and was used last week to obtain a High Court order.

The subordinated liability order allows AIB to impose losses on subordinated debt holders by changing terms, conditions and maturity dates on bonds.

However, two firms - Aurelius Capital and Abadi & Co Securities Ltd - have challenged the order and brought High Court proceedings this afternoon.

Under the legislation, investors had five working days to challenge the court order. That five-day rule expired today.

No details of the grounds for the challenge were disclosed and both cases will be mentioned before the President of the High Court on 3 May.