Sunday 28 December 2014

UK utility firm inquiry

Published 28/03/2014 | 02:30

The UK's biggest power utilities, including Bord Gais Energy buyer Centrica, face a competition inquiry that threatens to force a break-up of their operations as retail profits climb.

Regulator Ofgem has asked the Competition and Markets Authority to assess whether the companies' control over both wholesale and retail energy is in consumers' interests. Retail profits for utilities selling power and natural gas rose almost five-fold in 2012 from 2009, with no clear evidence of cost-cutting, the watchdog said.

SHANNON TRAINING UNIT

A new training facility for people who work with heights in industries such as the windfarm sector has been opened at Shannon Airport.

Northern Ireland-based Arch has opened the training centre at the so-called Boiler House building at the airport. It hasn't been used for 20 years. The facility will deliver safety training to technicians working on tall structures.

BANK OF AMERICA SETTLES

BANK of America has agreed to pay $9.3bn (€6.76bn) to settle claims that it sold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac faulty mortgage bonds, helping the bank to end one of the largest legal headaches it still faced from the financial crisis.

The settlement includes $6.3bn (€4.58bn) in cash and the rest in securities that Bank of America will purchase from the two housing finance entities. The second-largest US bank by assets said it had now resolved around 88pc of its total exposure to securities at issue in the mortgage bond litigation it has faced. Bank of America's first-quarter profits could take a substantial hit from the deal.

NEW AER LINGUS ROUTE

Aer Lingus Regional, the service operated by Stobart Air, is launching a new route between Cork and Newcastle today.

It follows the introduction of its Dublin-Newcastle route, which started last October. Stobart Air expects to carry a total of 300,000 passengers on its routes from Cork this year, 20pc more than in 2013. Stobart Air is also basing a second aircraft at Cork from April 14.

ADIDAS WORLD CUP BET

Adidas' 16pc drop in 2014 is leaving options traders unshaken as they bet that the World Cup soccer tournament will help it recover.

Options that appreciate as shares gain cost the most in almost four years relative to bearish ones, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Adidas has risen 3.8pc after falling to a one-year low on March 24.

Irish Independent

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