The incoming chief executive at Permanent TSB, Eamonn Crowley, faces a fresh uphill struggle when he takes over from Jeremy Masding in the coming weeks.
Outgoing CEO Masding is passing on the baton to his CFO at what is obviously a very difficult time for the banking sector in general and for PTSB in particular. In fact, the baton he is handing over looks in pretty bad shape.
Everything is relative, of course, and Masding can point to how, over the last eight years, he saved the bank from being wound down, secured EU approval for a restructuring plan, brought the business back to the stock market and massively reduced non-performing loans.
However, the bank was saved from being wound down at enormous cost to the Exchequer. Under Masding, the bank spent tens of millions on outside consultants who helped come up with the restructuring plan.
The business came back to the stock market, but to what end? Investors who bought up 25pc of the stock have lost most of their money. And the reduction in non-performing loans mainly involved selling off large portfolios.
The bank's market capitalisation is just €232m. After its first day of trading as a plc back in October 1994, the then Irish Permanent had a market cap of €279m - all of 26 years ago.
Masding's job has not been easy. Far from it. All the banks were broken in 2012, but the Irish Permanent model was probably the most shattered. It had a loan-to-deposit ratio of nearly 300pc. It was losing hundreds of millions on trackers.
Masding did the right thing by tracker mortgage holders, but not immediately. He held out for three years before deciding against a Supreme Court challenge to a previous High Court and Ombudsman ruling which had backed tracker mortgage holders who had been denied their entitlements.
Masding told an Oireachtas committee hearing in 2015 he took the right steps when he was in possession of all of the facts. It took him until 2015 to take the decision not to proceed with the Supreme Court case.
The bank has returned to profitability in recent years but is likely to make a loss this year because of Covid-19.
Crowley takes over at a time when his short-term priority will be getting the bank through the rest of this crisis. After that, he can look at where to go. He described it a "slightly higher mountain to climb" than rivals face. He signalled that he intends to pursue small business lending and generate more income from fees as future directions of focus.
Its small business lending base is tiny, with just €47m in SME lending last year, although this had doubled since 2018. The jury is out on whether SMEs will have the appetite for borrowing in the short term, given the impact of the pandemic.
If anything, other banks are talking about the hit they are likely to take from existing SME loans which they expect to go sour.
It is extremely difficult to see how the State can get even a fraction of its money back and it remains a 75pc shareholder. PTSB does play a role in the market by providing competition to the big two. This has a value to customers and the wider sector. But nobody even talks about the so-called third banking force any more.
The industry is under enormous pressure from ongoing low interest rates and fresh competition from new lower-cost operators and payments companies. The State pumped around €4bn into IL&P and got back €1.3bn from the sale of Irish Life.
Crowley knows the business and the bank but devising a growth strategy will be extremely challenging.
DAA stays grounded
When the DAA's second terminal at Dublin Airport finally opened, the country was in the teeth of a recession.
Michael O'Leary's description of it as an unnecessary "palace" seemed almost credible.
This quickly changed as the economy recovered and in recent years the airport has been booming. The second terminal looked like it might not be enough for Dublin Airport.
Thanks to the impact of Covid-19, there will be plenty of room for social distancing at the terminal in the months ahead as DAA chief executive Dalton Philips said passenger numbers at the airport will be down around 40pc next year compared with 2019.
Up to 1,000 jobs may go at the DAA but, as ever at a state company, they involve voluntary severance, career breaks and some pretty decent redundancy offers.
The voluntary scheme is open to anyone with at least four years' service.
DAA will offer four weeks' pay for each completed year of service, plus statutory redundancy of two weeks' per year (plus one week's pay) and it may also pay €10,000 for education or training in new skills.
Someone earning €50,000 a year with four years of service could be in line for a €15,384 lump sum, plus €5,761 in statutory, plus up to €10,000 towards education and training. That is €31,000 for four years' service.
Despite the complete collapse in its revenue base, the DAA has the financial resources to avoid needing a state bailout if it takes decisive action on its overheads.
Average pay, including pension contributions, in 2019 amounted to some €73,000.
Pre-tax profits in 2019 were €205m. It has around €750m of borrowings but the repayment scheduling is in its favour without major re-financing due in the short term. Last year the interest bill on its debt fell by €10m a year to €19.3m.
Part of the challenge for the airport company will be its capital infrastructure plan and trying to keep that on track. A €350m loan facility agreed with the European Investment Bank will help.
Any bidders? Have we a bid?
The board at baked goods group Aryzta has a date with destiny - well some of them do anyway.
Dissident shareholders, led by Swiss activist investment firm Veraison Capital, want to unseat the chairman, Gary McGann, and four other directors from the board. The EGM is due to be held in the middle of August.
Meanwhile, Rothschild & Co are undertaking a review of the business with nothing ruled out. Could Rothschild recommend - and even help deliver - a bid for the business? If so, it would certainly trump the board concerns around the EGM.
But is a bid possibly too late? Chances are that that ship has sailed and the problems at the company, including its debt levels and the impact of Covid-19, are too great.
Having given Rothschild & Co instructions which didn't rule anything out, the consultants are likely to be out there looking all the same.
Sunday Indo Business