Sunday 25 February 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Here are the main business stories from this morning's papers:

Irish Independent

* Thousands of families could end up sharing a bonanza of up to €190m after AIB wrongfully took their valuable trackers off them.

AIB has finally owned up to a massive tracker mortgage problem, after denying it for years.

It will have to restore at least 3,000 homeowners to good- value trackers and compensate them.

* A delay in floating AIB on the public markets to 2017 wouldn't be an issue, its chief executive Bernard Byrne has said.

However, he added that it would be preferable to go before the end of this year as planned.

As the bank announced it had almost doubled its pre-tax profits in 2015, Mr Byrne said AIB was ready to begin its return to private ownership this year, but the market currently is volatile.

* Borrowing costs for the State have fallen so low it would cost lenders to buy Irish bonds, as the markets continue to shrug off the impact of last week's inconclusive general election.

So called negative interest rates happen when investors have to pay so much for a bond that it is more than the combined face value of the debt plus the interest due on it.

The higher the price paid for the bonds, the lower the yields, or return.

The Irish Times

* AIB wrote off in excess of €600m of residential mortgage loans in Ireland over the course of last year according to results in the bank's annual results.

In 2015 the bank made a pre-tax profit of €1.9bn, which represented an increase of 72pc on its profits from 2014.

AIB chief executive, Bernard Byrne, said the bank is ready for an initial public offering based on suitable market conditions.

* Former Dragons' Den star, Sarah Newman, sold all of her assets to pay off creditors before she had been declared bankrupt.

It emerged on Thursday that Ms Newman was declared bankrupt by a UK court.

Ms Newman was due to be cross-examined as AIB Mortgage Bank looked to execute a €9m five-year-old judgement against her and he former partner, DJ Carey.

* Petroceltic, the troubled oil and gas explorer has opposed a £6.4m bid from Worldview Capital on the advice of Dublin-based Davy Stockbrokers.

The firm's board said that the bid undervalued the company if long-term funding was in place.

Worldview proposed the bid through its Cayman Islands-registered unit, Sunny Hill.

Irish Examiner

* AIB believes that it is in sufficient financial health to sell off the first part of it later this year as the bank believes market conditions will ease up.

Despite the bank's profits growing to €1.9bn last year, some analysts believe that the going to market this year would not be in the best interest of the State.

Analysts believe the value of shares in the bank could be hit by the turmoil facing European bank shares since the beginning of 2016.

* CRH is looking at securing hundreds of deals adding that it is also expecting further large-scale assets to go on sale.

While CRH is not likely to match the €8bn it spent last year, it is still likely to continue spending into this year.

Last year, CRH spent €160m on 20 bolt-on acquisitions and according to a report in the Irish Examiner, the firm will look to continue its acquistiions.

* Profits at the Communications Clinic, the PR firm headed up by Terry Prone and her son Anton Savage, increased by over €100,000 last year.

Accumulated profits at the firm jumped by 17.5pc to €682,105 in the 12-month period to the end of last March.

KPMG, AIB, Bank of Ireland, and Dublin City University are amongst the firm's clients.

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