Business World

Monday 18 December 2017

Ormonde Mining plans to raise €50m with bond issue


ORMONDE Mining has appointed financial advisers with the aim of raising about €50m for its flagship tungsten mine in Spain, through the issuance of a bond. The adviser in question is Norwegian group Swedbank Norway. Ormonde is seeking to fund the mine planned for Barruecopardo in Spain through a combination of debt and equity.

"As we now move towards completion of the permitting process for our Barruecopardo Tungsten Project following recent advances, it is an appropriate time to formalise our relationship with Swedbank, whom we have been in discussions with over the past year," said Ormonde managing director Kerr Anderson.



ONLINE market research company Global Reviews is setting up its European headquarters in Cork, creating 30 jobs in digital marketing over the next two years.

The Cork office will work alongside the company's head office in Melbourne and regional office in London.

The company was founded in Australia.

"We chose Cork because of the city's positive energy, the calibre of the local workforce, the fact that we have secured many Ireland-based clients in the insurance, banking and retail e-commerce markets, as well as the ease of access to European markets," said Global Review regional director Nicholas Greig.



BUTANOL, the petrol substitute promoted by billionaire Richard Branson, is headed for its debut at US pumps as soon as next year in a challenge to ethanol's domination of the $26bn (€19bn) renewable fuels market. Like ethanol, the colourless alcohol can be brewed from corn, though it packs more energy when mixed into gasoline.

Butamax Advanced Biofuel, funded by consumer goods giant DuPont and BP, is revamping an ethanol plant in Minnesota to begin making butanol in commercial volumes in 2015. Gevo, backed by French oil producer Total and Richard Branson through his Virgin Green Fund, already runs a distillery 60 miles away. Both say they've lined up clients for large-scale deliveries.

"This is the future of renewable fuels," Mr Branson said. "It's also hugely versatile so can be created to produce gasoline fuel blends, rubbers, solvents, plastics and jet fuels, which give us scope to enter into a range of markets."

The optimism contrasts with a series of disappointments by oil company sponsors. Several have cut or killed various types of biofuels research because they couldn't get costs down.

"There is certainly potential, but there have been quite considerable technical problems in the technology", to ferment butanol, said Clare Wenner, a transport analyst at London-based Renewable Energy Association.

"It's taking a lot longer than anybody thought years ago."



NINTENDO is to spend as much as 125bn yen (€877m) buying back shares after Christmas shoppers shunned its Wii U console and games featuring Mario and Zelda.

The world's largest maker of video-game machines will buy back as many as 10 million shares, or about 7.8pc of outstanding shares, the Kyoto, Japan-based company said.

"The share buyback means the company is trying to reward shareholders," said Makoto Kikuchi, chief executive officer at Myojo Asset Management in Japan. Nintendo shocked the market this month when it forecast a surprise annual loss, cut sales projections of the Wii U (above) and said it's considering a new business model.

President Satoru Iwata, who's taking a 50pc pay cut, is under pressure to find a new hit product as casual players move to smartphones and tablet computers, and hardcore gamers flock to faster consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

The company is now studying new ways to revive sales after previously ruling out licensing its franchise characters for online games or smartphone applications.



Google and EU regulators are close to settling a three-year antitrust investigation into the company's suspected anti-competitive behaviour after it offered improved concessions to allay competition concerns, two sources told Reuters yesterday.

A settlement under the European Commission's antitrust rules means Google will escape a possible fine of as much as $5bn. The search engine and the European Commission are close to a deal and a decision is expected in the next few days or in a couple of weeks at the latest, a senior European Union official said. A second person familiar with the matter confirmed the likely settlement.

The official said Google's latest proposal, its third after EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia rejected an earlier offer as unacceptable, was "much better". This includes commitments from Google on how it treats rivals.

The Commission has said that Google may have favoured its own products and services in search results at the expense of competitors.

Yahoo's online ad prices slid again in the fourth quarter and Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant in which it owns a big stake, saw revenue growth decelerate from its recent rip-roaring pace.



TURKEY'S central bank has raised all its main interest rates at an emergency late-night meeting in an effort to shore up the lira, resisting government pressure and reversing years of policy aimed at stoking growth.

Governor Erdem Basci is fighting to halt a currency run that gained speed amid domestic upheaval and a global rout of emerging markets.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said earlier this week that he had always opposed higher rates, is caught in a corruption scandal that has ensnared several ministers.

The scandal spooked investors just as the reduction of monetary stimulus in the United States began sucking money out of riskier nations, sending the lira to a record low.

"The central bank is taking a pretty big step towards regaining some of its lost credibility," said Neil Shearing of Capital Economics in London.

"It's put the emphasis squarely on preserving market stability and tackling inflation, and at the same time it's faced down the government."

Irish Independent

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