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Eircom ratings boost

STANDARD and Poor's has upgraded its outlook for Eircom to stable from negative, stating that margins and earnings at the telecoms firm are likely to improve.

The ratings agency also affirmed Eircom's "B" rating. "Eircom has made significant investments in fixed-line and mobile infrastructure over the past 12 months, compensating for previous years of underinvestment," said a note by S&P. "The stable outlook reflects our view that Eircom's revenues and cash position will reach their lowest point in June 2014 and that its margins will improve over the next two years."

SIAC HOLDINGS PLAN

SIAC Holdings is to exit examinership, but has cautioned that it could cut up to 40 jobs as part of its restructuring. Majority shareholders the Feighery family, together with senior management, Ducales Trading and Colas Teoranta, received approval from the High Court yesterday to exit the insolvency process.

Their proposal for its recovery, known as a Scheme of Arrangement, will see SIAC split into investment and property divisions. Its core activities will also be boosted by a €10.5m investment. The scheme also provides an incentivised structure for the company to pursue the Polish authorities for "severe damage" inflicted on SIAC's business. Poland's roads authority is being sued by several construction groups over losses sustained on motorway projects.

€10K FOR ENERGY IDEAS

SOME €10,000 in funding is up for grabs for promising start-ups in the energy sector.

The competition is an initiative by national electricity grid operator EirGrid and the National Digital Research Centre. It aims to promote innovation in smart grids, technology currently being rolled-out across the country to help maximise energy efficiency. The closing date for applications is February 21.

VISA TO CAP RETAILER FEES

THE EU's competition regulator will accept Visa Europe's offer to cap its credit card fees for retailers, reports indicate, as the trading bloc strives to cut the cost of paying with plastic and boost online commerce.

The offer came after the European Commission told the European licensee of Visa that higher fees were anti-competitive and resulted in higher consumer prices, putting it at risk of a hefty fine. If the offer is implemented it will see Visa Europe cut the charges levied on retailers to 0.3pc of the value of each transaction.

Irish Independent