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New Independent Colleges MD named

Independent Colleges has appointed Padraig Hourigan as its new managing director. Mr Hourigan replaces Garret Doyle, who is to depart the business to pursue other interests.

A chartered accountant, Mr Hourigan (37) joined the Independent Group in 2001 as finance manager in its publishing division. He was appointed finance director of Independent Colleges in 2007. Joe Webb, CEO, Independent News & Media Ireland, said as a management team, Garret and Padraig had been instrumental in the growth of Independent Colleges from a standing start in 2007 to become the leading provider of law and accountancy professional programmes in Ireland.

VHI pays €1.23bn for medical costs

VHI Healthcare spent more than €1.23bn last year to fund the healthcare needs and medical expenses of its customers countrywide, it said.

Cancer-related medical care remains the largest area of cost, with €228.5m paid out during the year, the VHI said.

Vodafone reveals 4G before rollout

VODAFONE Ireland yesterday showcased 4G for the first time in advance of the nationwide rollout of the service from the middle of next year.

The company recently secured the largest allocation of spectrum in the market in the ComReg Multiband Spectrum Auction process.

Taxpayers foot bill for bondholders

EUROPEAN taxpayers are helping foot the bill for saving junior bondholders of Spain's nationalised banks from being wiped out, an official at the country's central bank said.

Bankia parent Banco Financiero y de Ahorros will swap its junior debt for shares at valuations between 54pc and 86pc of face value, the lender said yesterday.

EU agrees to trade talks with Japan

EU trade ministers agreed yesterday to start negotiations towards a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Japan, officials said. They overcame resistance from European carmakers, who fear a deal might damage their industry.

The agreement gives the European Commission authority to negotiate with Japan on behalf of the 27 EU member states. An EU-Japan FTA would bring together two trading partners responsible for one-third of global economic output and could create 400,000 jobs in Europe. But the complexity of negotiations means it could take several years to reach a deal.

Irish Independent