The Irish Independent reports that potential bidders for Quinn Insurance have been sent a
so-called "teaser'' report about the company designed to
attract their interest before the full sales process begins.
The seven-page document is not a full sales memorandum and
doesn't contain the kind of sensitive information expected
to be divulged later on. Interested parties that get the
teaser document must put forward a case as to why they
should be allowed to progress to the next stage.
The document contains details on the past five years of
Quinn trading, pointing out that it only moved into the red
in the past two years. It also includes details on market
share in the Irish and UK insurance industries. The
appointment and recent work done by the administrators Grant
Thornton is also referred to. The sale is being handled by Macquarie and, contrary to
some media reports, only four or five bidders are expected
to make it on to the final shortlist. Much of the early
interest in the company has been described as highly
Anglo Irish Bank is also interested in taking over the
insurance company, albeit with an insurance joint venture
partner. The full information memorandum will be issued on
July 28 to those parties Macquarie are satisfied are
genuine. The sale is being handled by Macquarie staff
operating out of London.
Since taking over the company earlier this year, Grant
Thornton has managed to move Quinn Insurance back toward
profitability, at least on a week-by-week basis.
The UK business recently moved into profit on a
week-by-week (or run-rate) basis for the first time this
On average, the company's UK motor insurance business has
implemented price increases of 25pc, helping the UK business
to stage a recovery, even though the volume of business has
Quinn Insurance lost about €49m in 2008 and is expected
to register losses of about €50m for 2009. The 2009 results
were recently submitted to Financial Regulator Matthew
However, improving the 2010 performance has been the key
objective of the administration team, led by Michael McAteer
and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton.
The problems earlier this year, when the company was
placed in administration, are likely to prevent 2010 being
profitable in its entirety, but the administrators are
confident losses are now stopping and the changed
performance will attract suitors to the company, which is
still owned by Sean Quinn and his family.
The company will have to take a €10m charge in 2010 to
cover redundancy costs.
The firm is also likely to up its advertising spending
and try to gain a stronger foothold in the Dublin insurance
market, which is its weakness. Whoever buys the company will
have to pump in capital to boost its solvency levels, as
demanded by the regulator.
The Irish Independent also reports that jet-setting former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern cost the taxpayer
€14,000 in VIP airport charges and mobile phone bills since
Between his resignation in 2008 and May of
this year, Mr Ahern ran up a €5,682 bill for VIP airport
facilities and a mobile phone bill of €8,331.
All former Taoisigh are entitled to have their mobile
phone and airport costs paid for by the State.
However, the amount claimed by Mr Ahern is the largest of
any former Taoiseach, according to figures obtained by the
This was on top of his wage and expenses as a sitting TD,
income from his column in a British Sunday newspaper, and
lucrative speaking engagements abroad.
Last year he earned around €467,200 from his speaking
arrangements alone. He is registered with the Washington
Speakers Bureau which charged $40,000 (€29,200) per speech
-- and he gave 16 speeches last year. He also enjoys a
€92,672 TD's salary.
Albert Reynolds, who served as Taoiseach in two coalition
governments between 1992 and 1994, was the second highest
claimant, with an overall bill of €5,446 during the
John Bruton, who served as Taoiseach during the 1994
-1997 Labour, Fine Gael and Democratic Left coalition,
claimed €3,477 in mobile phone charges, but had no airport
Garret FitzGerald, who headed two Fine Gael-Labour
coalitions between 1981 and 1987, claimed a total of €1,730.
Liam Cosgrave, who headed the Fine Gael-Labour coalition
from 1973 to 1977, did not claim any funds under the
Former Taoisigh are entitled to a chauffeur-driven car,
garda protection and secretarial assistants.
It emerged recently that the cost of providing
chauffeur-driven cars to four ex-Taoisigh came to €684,247
And Mr Ahern again ran up the biggest bill for fuel and
maintenance costs at €13,040.
Mr Ahern resigned as Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fail
at the height of the controversy over contradictions in
evidence to the Mahon Tribunal about bank lodgments made in
the 1990s when he was Finance Minister. Following his
resignation he enjoyed a ministerial pension on top of his
€92,672 TD salary.
However, in April of this year he surrendered this
€83,426 pension following uproar over sitting politicians
drawing a pension while being paid a TD wage.
During 2009, Mr Ahern travelled extensively to promote
his autobiography, and to speak abroad. He could not be
contacted yesterday for comment.
Last night, Labour TD Roisin Shortall insisted it was
time to review the arrangement for former Taoisigh.
"It is time such expenses were brought into line with the
realities of life. It is annoying for taxpayers struggling
to get by," she said. "We see that Bertie Ahern is currently
travelling around the world and has a considerable income
from speaking arrangements."
"There is no justification for the taxpayer footing the
bill when he is a sitting TD and has an income on the side."
The Government has no plans to change the arrangement of
paying for VIP airport charges and mobile phones for former
The Irish Times reports that ministers will meet on Wednesday to begin discussions on how to
deliver €3 billion in cuts in December’s budget.
Ahead of the
meeting, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has strongly
signalled that a property tax will not form part of the budget.
“One of the problems with capital taxation at present . . . is
that we’ve seen this huge reduction in the value of property so
that the capacity of the capital taxes to raise money has
reduced accordingly,” he said.
“It’s very difficult if you’re talking about capital taxes in
the present climate to talk about property taxes because that’s
just another capital tax,” he added.
At the all-day meeting at Farmleigh House in Dublin, the
Cabinet will also finalise a €40 billion five-year capital
spending programme, to be announced later this week.
A confidential budget strategy memo, setting out the
preliminary outline of the Government’s initial approach to
formulating December’s budget, has yet to go to Government but
will be discussed on Wednesday.
All departments have submitted proposals for various cuts to
the Department of Finance ahead of the meeting, which will be
the first official budget discussion involving all departments.
Government sources would not confirm reports a general cut of
5 per cent in all current spending would be required in all
departments. “The focus of the Cabinet meeting will be jobs,” a
Government spokesman said.
The big-spending departments of Social Protection, Education
and Skills and Health and Children are expected to face the
Government sources said spending was likely to be protected
in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation in an
attempt to prioritise spending on job creation and enterprise
initiatives. “In a recession it would be counter-intuitive to do
otherwise,” one source said.
Green Party chairman Senator Dan Boyle said his party’s
contribution to budgetary preparations would not be confined to
the Department of the Environment and the Department of
Communications, Energy and Natural Resources – the two
portfolios held by Green Ministers. “Things we’d be most
concerned about would be maintaining social welfare rates and
education expenditure. Also on the capital side our priority
would be infrastructure relating to public transport and water
services,” Mr Boyle said.
Wednesday’s meeting will be the second-last Cabinet meeting
before September. The final meeting has been provisionally
scheduled for Wednesday 28th.
Mr Lenihan’s latest comments on the prospect of a property
tax came in a radio interview.
Speculation that a property tax could be imminent intensified
last week after the publication of an International Monetary
Fund (IMF) report showing the Department of Finance told
visiting IMF officials in May a flat-rate property tax was under
A Department of Finance spokesman said last night nothing had
been ruled out. “All taxation proposals are considered within
the context of December’s budget,” he said.
Mr Cowen will launch the capital spending programme towards
the end of the week, either on Thursday or Friday. The
announcement will reveal the overall financial allocation for
each department for the years 2011-2016 and the total envelope
is expected to be in the region of €40 billion.
While some transport projects are expected to be among those
previously-announced infrastructure initiatives to be dropped,
Metro and Luas projects are understood to be safe as they will
be particularly labour-intensive. Some projects are expected to
be “notable by their absence”, according to a Government source.
Of the €3 billion budget savings required this year, €1
billion will come from the capital programme while the remaining
€2 billion will be raised through a combination of taxation and
cutting current expenditure. “With €1 billion coming from a
reduction in the capital programme, logically €1 billion’s worth
of projects are going to fall by the wayside,” a Government
The Irish Times also reports that Minister for the Environment John Gormley has rejected as
“scaremongering” and “absolute nonsense” claims that the State
will face massive EU fines for landfill waste if the
controversial Poolbeg incinerator does not go ahead.
Minister also said he would this week receive the report of the
“authorised officer” he appointed in March to examine the
contract between Dublin City Council and a consortium to build
the €350 million incinerator.
Senior counsel and accountant John Hennessy was appointed to
carry out an independent examination of the Poolbeg contract,
including an examination of its financial implications in
His remit included assessment of the financial risks should
Dublin City Council and the three other Dublin local authorities
be unable to meet the volumes of waste committed to in the
“put-or-pay” clause of the contract, which requires the council
to provide 320,000 tonnes of residual waste every year. The
report may also look at the issue of compensation should the
Poolbeg project be repudiated or scaled down.
As the war of words continued in the wake of the Minister’s
publication last week of a draft waste policy plan which would
make large incinerators such as Poolbeg unviable, Mr Gormley
insisted Ireland was compliant with EU directives.
He said there was a “co-ordinated campaign saying we’re going
to be facing fines. That’s absolutely untrue. It’s
scaremongering. I would never allow anything like that to happen
as Minister. I’ve been probably the most vigilant Minister in
trying to deal with EU directives. I’ve made sure that the waste
hierarchy is the thing that we abide by.”
He insisted Ireland would meet its waste management targets
for 2010, and said the proponents of the Poolbeg incinerator
“want the Minister to come in on his white steed and say ‘oh
don’t worry, I’m going to make things nice for you’. Well, I’m
Mr Gormley added: “I’m going ahead with my policy. I will be
introducing the levy system.”
Ireland has “the lowest landfill prices in Europe. We have to
have a landfill levy because we have to abide by the landfill
The Minister believed the “path we are pursuing is by far and
away the most sustainable path in terms of waste management”.
The local authorities “don’t want it because it conflicts
totally with their ambition to construct a 600,000 tonnes
He said: “They cannot feed the beast at the moment. It’s just
too big. They know that. The only way they can do that is by
controlling the waste. They can’t do that in light of the McKechnie judgment.”
The High Court ruled in December 2009 that the council had
abused its dominant position in the Dublin waste market by
adopting a variation of its 1998 waste management plan,
decreeing that waste would only be collected by the four local
authorities or their chosen contractors.
Mr Gormley said the authorities wanted him to introduce
legislation to reverse the McKechnie judgment. “I’m saying to
you absolutely that I’m not going to do it.”
The local authorities, he added, “don’t control the waste”.
The Irish Examiner reports that company bad debt hit €1.2 billion in the first six
months of 2010, with the 32 worst-affected liquidated firms owing €770
million between them.
New figures compiled by www.vision-net.ie show that the ongoing
financial crisis is having a crippling impact on payments to creditors
across the business spectrum.
An online survey by the group over the past six months indicates that
liquidated Irish companies now owe a fortune in bad debt because they
either cannot afford to pay back creditors or are still waiting on
re-payments from other firms themselves.
Some 32 companies owe a massive €770m between them.
And with liquidity problems continuing to damage a host of industries,
there appears to be no immediate end to the crisis.
According to the figures, 3.8% of liquidated companies surveyed each owe
more than €5m, including 32 companies with bad debt of €770m.
A further 18.5% of firms questioned by www.vision-net.ie owe between €1m
and €5m, while 14.6% are responsible for individual bad debt ranging
between €500,000 and €1m.
Just over half of all liquidated companies surveyed — 50.7% — owe less
The figures are likely to further increase over the coming months as the
financial crisis further impacts on Irish businesses.
Last week, liquidators were been appointed 25 companies, including:n12
* Two in Galway
* Two in Kildare
* One each in Cork, Carlow, Cavan, Donegal, Laois, Louth, Meath,
Waterford and Wexford
The businesses affected were in the food, security, furniture, mechanics
and finance sectors.
A further five companies have had receivers appointed to them in the
past seven days, including two in Dublin and one each in Clare, Donegal
According to statistics revealed by www.insolvencyjournal.ie earlier
this month, Irish insolvencies were 27% higher during the first six
months of 2010 compared with the same period last year.
Between January 1 and July 1, a total of 792 companies were declared
insolvent — 170 businesses more than the 622 in the first half of 2009
and already more than the 773 insolvencies recorded during the whole of
Dublin has been the worst-hit location for firms going bust, with its
322 insolvencies in the first six months of 2010 accounting for 40% of
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