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Guoli Tian of Bank of China

Guoli Tian of Bank of China

Guoli Tian of Bank of China

Visit from Chinese banker should showcase Ireland

Is Mr Tian coming to town? Ahead of next month's glitzy opening of Bank of China's first Irish branch, rumours are rife that the red carpet will be rolled out for none other than the bank's chairman and executive director, Guoli Tian.

The presence of Tian, a former vice-chairman of the board of directors and general manager of China CITIC Group, would put the icing on the cake of a series of high-profile Chinese visitors to Irish shores. They include Chinese President Xi Jinping, who memorably kicked a football at Croke Park during his ground-breaking visit to Ireland in 2012. Since then, Sino-Irish relations have deepened with high-level exchanges between the two countries.

These include a visit to Ireland by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2015 and reciprocal jaunts to China by soon-to-be-departed Taoiseach Enda Kenny and our poet-in-chief President Michael D Higgins. The most significant trips in recent times, however, have been made by Minister for State Eoghan Murphy, who has traversed the globe to tempt Asia-Pac financial services companies - especially of the Chinese and Japanese variety - to relocate all or part of their London operations in Dublin post Brexit.

Appearances matter: Bank of China's foray into Ireland could see other Chinese institutions follow Tian's lead. Roll out the red carpet - and stick in a bit of green?

Love me tender, love me TV - race is on to catch evaders

The race to catch the TV licence dodgers is well and truly under way with no less than nine companies (including incumbent collector An Post) responding to a public request for information - a standard precursor to applying for a tender.

But, this being Ireland, the Minister for Communications can't appoint a TV licence agent by way of public tender under current laws. The legal quirk will soon be rectified, paving the way for a full tender for the creation of a new TV licence evader tsar.

The potential spoils are not to be sniffed at. Ireland has an evasion rate of almost 14pc - a €40m-per-year loss - compared to an EU average of 7pc. The evasion rate in the UK fell from 13pc in 1991 to its current 7pc, after the BBC placed evaders in the hands of private companies after a public procurement process. With RTE seeking to increase the licence fee, this is one tender that could prove very sweet indeed.

McCoss hire a big deal for improving Providence

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Extremely interesting news over at Providence Resources, where Tullow Oil's exploration director Angus McCoss has joined the board.

McCoss is a big name in the industry and it seems safe to assume that Pat Plunkett, the ex-Tullow chairman who became Providence chairman last year, had something to do with it.

The appointment has got a lot of people talking around Dublin, with many speculating that it's a precursor to some big news that might lift the spirits of Providence's long-suffering shareholders.

Why would McCoss, coming from a big oil explorer and producer, bother to join a small-cap company like Providence if he wasn't confident about its prospects?

The company has had a rough ride over the last few years but looks to have turned the momentum around after appointing the Tullow veterans and managing to sell a stake in a prospect off the west coast. Drilling is due to start there next month - will Providence strike?

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