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Tuesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - October 28, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Oct 28, 2014 - 9:55 AM

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Irish Independent

The former Anglo Irish Bank has lodged a case against Gay Byrne, his wife Kathleen Watkins, and their daughters Crona and Suzy.

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation notified the veteran broadcaster it was seeking a summary judgment against the Clonskeagh Partnership, a property syndicate set up by Mr Byrne and his family.

The High Court case is believed to be over debts worth more than €2m.

It is understood that some of Mr Byrne's investments were included on a list of politically-sensitive borrowers compiled by the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Mr Byrne told the Irish Independent he had taken legal advice not to comment on the case. "It's a legal action so I can't say anything about it," he said. "I don't know what figures have been mentioned."

Lending to companies in the so-called Eurozone periphery - including Ireland - continued to fall in September, while banks in core countries kept lending more, ECB data showed yesterday.

Ireland recorded a 12.5pc decline in corporate lending - its steepest drop since July 2011.

The figures from the European Central Bank showed corporate lending decreased on an annual basis in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, but continued to rise in Germany, Finland, France and Austria.

Weak lending has been one of the main impediments to growth as European companies rely mostly on funding from banks, which have been reluctant to hand out credit as they adapt to stricter regulation and went through the ECB's landmark asset review.

THE European Central Bank has signalled that it may release the letter sent to former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan by its then president, which many suspect prompted Ireland's entry into a bailout programme.

The ECB told Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly that it would review its decision to withhold the letter, which was sent by Jean-Claude Trichet to Mr Lenihan in November 2010.

Earlier this year, the ECB again refused to hand over the letter, prompting criticism from European ombudsman Emily O'Reilly.

In correspondence to Mr Kelly, the ECB said it was its intention to reassess the matter now that the European banking health checks have been completed.

Irish Times

Permanent TSB and its advisers plan to canvass more than 30 institutional investors and private equity groups in Europe and the US in the coming weeks to seek an investment of €200 million or more to help plug a shortfall in its capital identified yesterday as part of a pan-European exercise by regulators.

Permanent TSB was the only bank in Ireland to fail the European Central Bank’s stress tests. The ECB found a capital shortfall of €854.8 million but PTSB said it has already accounted for more than 80 per cent of this through various actions.

It is understood that the outstanding shortfall now amounts to €125 million. PTSB’s corporate advisers, Deutsche Bank and Irish stockbroker Davy, will try to raise this amount and more from third-party sources.

Beatrice Healy, who invested in property deals assembled by Derek Quinlan, has begun legal action against the financier, alleging negligence, breach of contract and deceit among other matters.

Mrs Healy plans to state in her claim that she told Mr Quinlan to invest her savings of €445,000 conservatively as she wanted to ensure the future wellbeing of her son who has a disability.

She claims Mr Quinlan was familiar with her financial and personal circumstances as his business provided her with accountancy services, and they had spoken to each other.

Lloyds, Britain’s largest mortgage lender, said third-quarter profit rose 41 per cent, beating analyst estimates, as it announced a three-year plan to cut about 9,000 jobs to revamp its business.

Pretax profit before one-time items rose to £2.16 billion from £1.5 billion in the year- earlier period. That beat the £2.07 billion average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio announced a plan to close some 150 branches and cut £1 billion in costs by 2017 as more customers switch to online banking.

Irish Examiner

Britain has been warned that if it wishes to reopen the methodology for calculating its contributions to the EU budget, it could be opening a Pandora’s box that could put the controversial rebate in question.

Prime minister David Cameron claimed he knew nothing of the balancing bill received by London earlier this month that showed Britain owed €2.1bn going back over 12 years.

It was one of nine countries, including Ireland, that must pay an additional contribution by December 1, while 18 countries had overpaid and will receive money back. The exercise does not leave the EU with any additional funds.

The European Commission went on the attack when budget commissioner Jacek Dominik spelt out the process showing that the national governments and their statistical agencies were fully involved in it.

Europe

Euro Topics: Cameron puts his post before his country: British Prime Minister David Cameron reacted indignantly to the EU's demand that London pay an extra €2.1bn into its budget. His increasingly critical stance on the EU is aimed at appeasing the Eurosceptics in his Conservative Party but is doing lasting harm to the country, the Financial Times warns: "He has raised the impossible prospect of placing quotas on EU migration to Britain. Now he has turned a marginal question about the bloc's finances into a row with the allies he needs to take Europe down the road of reform. If Mr Cameron wins the next election he will hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. Last year he declared that he would campaign 'with all my heart and soul' for Britain to stay in the club. Today, that declaration is barely believable. Mr Cameron looks like someone who will do anything to save his premiership and his party, whatever the cost to his country."

Hollande's obstinacy hurts France: The European Commission is apparently unwilling to approve France's budget - which shows a deficit of 4.3 percent of GDP - and has requested more precise information on the reasons for the country's excessively high national debt. The conservative daily Le Figaro criticises the attitude of French President François Hollande: "France is not willing to let Europe lecture it on its national budget. The 2015 budget, which is still being debated in the National Assembly, will probably be rejected this week in Brussels. Interference in our internal affairs? A violation of our sovereignty? The truth is that we don't want to abide by the rules that we ourselves established. Today France is the worst student in the class, but François Hollande is playing deaf. That's his way of getting what he wants. He is betting that neither Brussels nor Germany nor any other of his partners have the courage to trigger a political crisis with a founding member of the EU."

State bank bailouts rewarded: Italy came off worst in the ECB's stress test: of the 25 banks that failed nine were Italian, while only one was German. That's not surprising because the ECB rewards state bank bailouts, the liberal daily La Stampa comments annoyed: "The Italian financial institutes haven't received anywhere near as much help from the state as those in other European countries - and above all Germany. The stress test would have been a horror scenario [for them without state aid]. Because Eurostat data shows that with 250 billion euros Angela Merkel's country is the number one in Europe when it comes to investing in the bailout fund. Spain is number two with roughly 60 billion, followed by Ireland and the Netherlands with 50 billion euros. ... In Italy, state aid amounted to a paltry four billion euros, the famous cash injection for the MPS [Monte dei Paschi di Siena]. And even that was labelled a scandalous amount."


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