Friday 23 February 2018

Department of Finance and IBRC squabble over Siteserv

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

MAJOR tensions between the Department of Finance and IBRC have emerged after an investigation was launched into the sale of building support company Siteserv by the IBRC in 2012.

Documents released under Freedom of Information reveal that the Department of Finance had serious concerns over a group of assets sold by Anglo's successor IBRC while it was controlled by former chief Mike Aynsley.

These include concerns over the decision to allow Siteserv's sale by run by its advisors, to pay Siteserv's shareholders €5m as part of the deal and to exclude trade buyers from the process. The documents also show disputes between the Department and IBRC over key appointments and pay increases.

IBRC's special liquidators, Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of KPMG, have been asked to re-examine several high-value asset sales carried out by IBRC.

McKillen victorious in battle with Barclay brothers

Belfast developer Patrick McKillen's battle for three of the most exclusive hotels in London ended in victory last week, after his rivals - the billionaire Barclay brothers and financier Derek Quinlan - sold their interest in them.

British property tycoons and Channel Island residents the Barclays have offloaded their interest in the company behind Claridges, The Berkeley and The Connaught hotels to Qatar's Constellation Hotels Group.

The move brings to an end the Barclay brothers' interest in the hotels and ends one of the most bitter disputes in business over the past four years.

McKillen and the Barclays will now drop all legal actions over ownership of the properties.

McKillen will keep his 36pc stake while the state of Qatar has bought 64pc. The two parties are understood to be on good terms.

AIB buckles on rate cut for standard variable mortgages

Following weeks of public pressure, the country's second biggest bank said it was likely to reduce its variable mortgage rate within two months.

A cut of 0.25pc is now expected as early as June for the 140,000 variable-rate customers of AIB and its EBS and Haven brands.

The news following public outcry over the steep cost of variable mortgages, which most banks have refused to reduce despite being able to borrow at record low prices. The average interest rate on a tracker is around 1pc. This compares with 4.5pc on a standard variable.

The AIB change of tack piles pressure on other lenders to follow suit. However, PTSB recently warned investors that pressure to cut its rates could harm its return to profit.

NTMA excluded from talks on night of the guarantee

Senior executives from the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) were left in a room to watch television on the night of the government bank guarantee. Despite being hauled in to Government buildings on the night of September 29, 2008, the NTMA representatives were never consulted.

Brendan McDonagh, now head of Nama, but who was Director of Finance at the NTMA at the time, said they didn't even know a bank guarantee was being discussed.

Sunday Indo Business

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