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News : International Last Updated: Jun 10, 2014 - 11:33 AM


Tuesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - June 10, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Jun 10, 2014 - 9:27 AM

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Irish Independent

SHARES in Bank of Ireland opened down this morning at 27c, or just under 5c off on yesterday's close following news of the sale of Wilbur Ross's entire remaining stake in the bank.

Deutsche Bank, which is selling the shares for the US billionaire, set the price at 26.5c - making about €480m for him.

Yesterday Mr Ross announced that he was putting his entire stake in Bank of Ireland on the market and that he was quitting the board.

Today Bank of Ireland also paid tribute to Mr Ross as an investor while chairman of the institution Archie Kane said he was instrumental in the bank's fundraising in 2011.

The Wall Street veteran has nearly tripled his original investment of €290m in just three years.

HOUSEHOLDERS are to be hit with a massive hike in a state-approved levy on their electricity bills.

The 50pc rise in the levy used to subsidise energy generated from peat and wind has been condemned as "just another sneaky tax rise".

The move will add €27 a year to the average household bill, and comes after a similar-sized increase in the levy last year.

The Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy is being imposed despite a fall in the wholesale cost of generating electricity.

Vice-chairman of Consumers' Association Michael Kilcoyne called on Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte to change the rules which result in householders and businesses being forced to subsidise the cost of generating power from wind and peat.

Martin Shanahan has been appointed as chief executive of the IDA.

The 41-year-old has been the head of Forfas since 2010. Forfas advises the Government on policy in relation to enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation.

He is expected to take up his €168,000-a-year role in August.

He will replace IDA veteran Barry O'Leary who previously announced his plans to step down.

The IDA has 254 staff and 19 offices, mostly outside Ireland. At Forfas, Mr Shanahan was heavily involved in coordinating the Government's inter-agency Action Plan for Jobs.

He is a member of the Board of Forfas, the National Competitiveness Council and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs. Before joining Forfas he worked with Failte Ireland and CERT.

Broadcaster Vincent Browne has been hospitalised due to exhaustion.

The TV3 presenter was admitted to St Vincent's Private Hospital in south Dublin over the weekend and will not return to his week-night programme 'Tonight with Vincent Browne' until the autumn, the Irish Independent has learned.

A source confirmed that the 69-year-old was feeling "under the weather" last month but did not take time off from the commercial station to recover properly.

With the European and local elections taking place at the time, it was a particularly busy period for the current affairs anchor.

"Everyone was flat out with all the elections coverage and his situation stemmed from there," the source said.

"He decided to power through it and not take a few days off sick, so it got worse and now he's been forced to take a proper break in a hospital bed because he's so worn out and completely drained."

Irish Times

Household spending is more affected by house prices and changing debt levels in Ireland than in other countries, according to new research.

As a result, large variations in house prices, such as those experienced in the Irish market since the economy collapsed in late 2008, are likely to have a significant impact on the real economy.

It also found the decision to reduce household debt levels is found to have negative implications for consumption.

In addition, when examining household deleveraging patterns (debt repayment), the analysis suggests it is a relatively affluent cohort of the mortgaged population who are more likely to engage in deleveraging.

This suggests certain less-well-off sections of the mortgaged population are likely to remain significantly indebted while unable to address their leveraged position.

The US court official overseeing Seán Dunne’s bankruptcy has queried whether he may in fact be divorced from his wife, former gossip columnist Gayle Killilea Dunne.

Trustee Rich Coan raised the issue in documents seeking access to “in-camera” family law proceedings in Ireland involving Mr Dunne.

He believes information in the earlier Irish proceedings will shed light on a 2010 judgment in a separate Swiss family law case taken by Mrs Killilea Dunne against her husband.

Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon Holdings has filed with US regulators to hold an initial public offering. The Dublin-based company said the number of shares to be sold had ‘not yet been determined’

JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are underwriting the IPO, the company said in a preliminary prospectus filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Dublin-based Avolon said in a statement that the number of shares to be sold and the price range had “not yet been determined.”

Avolon is backed by private equity firms Cinven, CVC Capital Partners and Oak Hill Capital Partners, as well as Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

Avolon’s listing plans come as aviation draws interest from longer-term investors such as insurers and pension funds, who hope to boost weak returns dictated by low interest rates.

Irish hotels are €5.3 billion in debt and need to reduce this burden by €1.4 billion if the sector is to stay viable, a report by economist Alan Ahearne has found.

He said despite substantial progress being made over the last two years, indebtedness remains a pressing issue for many hotels outside large urban areas such as Dublin.

While hotel debt is down from €6.7 billion at the end of 2011, Mr Ahearne’s report reveals that a further reduction of €1.4 billion is required to bring hotel debt to a sustainable level. This would return hotels to a financial position where they could operate on a long-term sustainable basis and commit to investment in ongoing maintenance, refurbishment, renovation and innovation – and thereby grow employment.

“If you’re so indebted that your interest payments absorb all your profit, you will have no money left to refurbish, maintain and improve the hotel. The quality of the hotel will thus decrease over time,” he said.

Irish Examiner

Irish households continue to deleverage six years after the property market crash, according to the latest figures from the Central Bank.

Total credit outstanding to Irish households was €97.8bn at the end of March, which was a 1.2% decrease on the previous quarter and a 3.6% drop compared with the same period in 2013.

Total deposits with banks in Ireland was €85.6bn over the first quarter of the year, a 1.5% decrease on 2013.

Irish banks had €83.3bn on their balance sheets of at the end of March and a further €38.6bn securitised mortgages. This represents a 3.1% decrease in mortgages at the end of March compared with the previous year, following on from a 3% decrease in 2013 compared with 2012.

Variable and tracker mortgages account for 94% of all mortgages. There was a €1bn decrease in the value of tracker mortgages outstanding at the end of March, which represents 49% of all mortgages outstanding.

Europe

Euro Topics:  The European Central Bank cut the benchmark interest rate to a historic low of 0.15 percent on Thursday in a bid to prevent deflation. In addition banks will be made to pay a penalty interest for parking money with the ECB. Cheap money is important to stimulate the recovery in Europe's crisis countries, some commentators write approvingly. Others say that the measures only punish savers.

Savers punished, speculators rewarded: Cheap money will only trigger the next crisis, the liberal-conservative Austrian daily Die Presse comments with a critical eye to the ECB's lowering of its benchmark interest rate: "At the end of the day there's always less cash in our wallets and the bitter reality that hard work alone is no longer sufficient to improve our life. In this system the speculators are rewarded, those who go bankrupt are bailed out and the savers are punished. We should at least not seem so surprised when the next crisis hits. How many bubbles must still burst, and how many 'unconventional measures' must the good people at the central banks dream up before we have a thoroughgoing debate on the role of money in the eternal rise and fall of the stock markets? The pattern is always the same: cheap money fuels speculation on the stock markets until the artificially created boom comes to an abrupt end and sparks a new crisis - which then has to be solved with more cheap money. We're always doing the same thing but expecting different results. That's how Einstein defined insanity."

On May 14, Janet Ortiz, who runs a cattle farm in an area known as Las Merindades, in Burgos, northern Spain, received a letter from a law firm advising her to sell her 3.5-hectare holding or face the risk of it being “forcibly expropriated,” according to El País, the largest circulation Spanish newspaper.

She contacted the law firm, and was told that it represented BNK Petroleum, a US hydrocarbons company that wants to extract gas in the area via fracking, a method that involves forcing water and air into underground shale deposits to extract gas trapped there. The practice has met with widespread opposition in much of Europe, as well as among Ortiz’s neighbors.

Ortiz posted the letter on the social networks, and it was soon being discussed throughout Las Merindades, an area rich in hydrocarbons, which has been explored for the last century: Spain’s only onshore oil well is located at Ayoluengo, 60 kilometers from Ortiz’s home, and has been producing since 1964.

Ortiz’s strategy of bringing the threat of fracking out in the open put BNK on the back foot, which was obliged, through its law firm, to apologize for threatening to expropriate her land. But local people are now very wary. “Janet’s letter has got us all worried,” says Pepe Casado, a local councilor and member of a local action group set up to prevent fracking in Las Merindades: “We know the wolf is at the door.” The local council, run by the Popular Party, has been forced to declare Las Merindades a non-fracking zone, even though the move has no legal validity.
 


© Copyright 2011 by Finfacts.com

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