Claims for €1.2m fees by IBRC side in Drumm case
Lawyers acting for the now defunct Irish Bank Resolution Corporation against former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm in his US bankruptcy proceedings have filed claims for expenses and fees of $1.6 million (€1.2 million).
The Irish Times reports that the claim for the fees, which represent almost a sixth of the money Mr Drumm owes the bank he previously ran, was made just days after the Government passed emergency legislation to liquidate IBRC.
Court filings submitted to the US bankruptcy court in Massachusetts earlier this week show IBRC’s attorneys, New York law firm Sidley Austin, made a claim for $1.463 million in unpaid fees and expenses, while Boston law firm Foley Hoag, where one of its attorneys Ken Leonetti also acted for the State-owned bank in the Drumm case, sought the payment of unpaid fees and expenses totalling $191,276.
Mr Drumm owes Anglo more than €8.5 million and has overall debts of about €10 million. He filed for bankruptcy in Boston in 2010 after failing to reach a settlement agreement with the bank on his debts.
Last year, lawyers and financial advisers acting for the trustee, Boston lawyer Kathleen Dwyer, who is liquidating his assets, applied to the Boston court for fees totalling $628,000 coming from the cash proceeds from the sale of the assets.
Ms Dwyer’s Irish solicitors sought fees of $68,000 and expenses of $22,000 for representing her in the action taken against Mr Drumm by what was then Anglo in the High Court in Dublin. New York financial advisers CRG Partners, which carried out work for the trustee, sought fees of $68,000 last May.
IBRC never disclosed how much it paid in legal fees and expenses in challenging Mr Drumm’s discharge from bankruptcy and it is not clear how the bank’s action to prevent his discharge will be affected by IBRC’s liquidation last week.
Chief executive Mike Aynsley, who lost his job following the liquidation, told The Irish Times last September some of the bank’s civil actions against former executives may not be worth pursuing from a commercial view given the cost but ending the cases was a matter for Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.
The trial to determine whether Mr Drumm should be prevented from walking away from bankruptcy with a clean financial slate is scheduled to take place in Boston in June
UK-based Invesco a major shareholder in Aer Arann
UK-based Invesco Asset Management has become a major shareholder in Aer Arann, the Irish Independent reports.
The airline underwent a major ownership overhaul before Christmas as chairman Padraig O Ceidigh, who'd been the face of the airline for almost 20 years, sold the bulk of his remaining stake in the business and stepped back from his involvement in it.
Aer Arann - which now operates all its flights under the Aer Lingus regional brand through a franchise agreement with the former state-owned airline - emerged from examinership in 2010 with a deal that saw UK logistics group Stobart take a small stake in the firm.
Businessman Tim Kilroe Jnr also invested in Aer Arann as part of that process. However, he is no longer a shareholder in the business.
Last year, Stobart approached Mr O Ceidigh about buying out most of his remaining stake in the airline. That has resulted in Stobart boosting its holding in Aer Arann to 42pc. Invesco also owns 42pc of the carrier. Another new shareholder in the airline is London-based Cenkos Securities. It has taken about a 10pc stake.
Mr O Ceidigh has retained a 5pc holding. Invesco is already a shareholder in Stobart which is a listed company.
A spokesman for Aer Arann also declined to comment.
Under an agreement reached with other shareholders, the firm through which Mr O Ceidigh owns his 5pc stake will be paid a minimum of €100,000 if shareholders holding more than 50pc of shares in Aer Arann agree to sell the business to a third-party purchaser.
That minimum payment to Mr O Ceidigh's company is guaranteed under a so-called 'drag along' clause.
Aer Arann interim chief executive Sean Brogan said last week that the airline was embarking on a "new beginning" after completing a successful restructuring.
It aims to double its annual passenger figures to two million by 2018 and to become one of Europe's leading regional airlines by 2015.
The airline is launching new services from Dublin to both Manchester and Birmingham this summer and will also boost the number of services to Scotland.
Aer Arann has also signed a 10-year extension to the franchise agreement that it has with Aer Lingus. Chief executive Christoph Mueller has on a number of occasions ruled out making a direct investment in Aer Arann.
However, Aer Lingus has taken a 33pc equity stake in a company that will acquire eight aircraft that will in turn be leased to Aer Arann.
Aer Lingus will pay an initial $14.2m (€10.5m) for its stake in the firm and may boost that if a further two aircraft are acquired.
Fresh meat sales soar at Morrisons amid horsemeat scandal
Morrisons appears to be the biggest winner from the horsemeat scandal after the supermarket chain reported an 18% rise at its fresh meat counters in the wake of revelations over tainted food.
The Guardian reports that the retailer said it had posted the double-digit increase since horse DNA was first identified in Tesco value beef burgers. It published the sales data as another study found 45% of shoppers would avoid the meat aisles of chains found selling the contaminated meat.
Morrisons has around 1,700 butchers across 500 stores and anecdotal evidence from staff points to customers seeking out fresh meat at its stores instead of frozen food.
Fresh beef burger sales have jumped 50%, fresh pork sales are up 124%, beef mince is up 21% and lamb rose 15% over the past two weeks, compared with last month, the company said.
Morrisons' chief executive, Dalton Philips, said: "Because we work direct with farms, even owning our very own, our counters and expert staff can confidently offer the most reliable meat to customers." Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's declined to comment on their meat sales.
Morrisons has a business model which sources meat through a variety of local farm communities, which means bosses have closer knowledge of the supply chain. As a result, during the horsemeat scandal the company's response has been limited to removing Findus-branded lasagnes from shelves after tests found some contained 100% horse.
By comparison, Tesco and Aldi have found horsemeat in their value lasagne and bolognese ranges because the meat was supplied by the same French supplier, Comigel, which supplied Findus. Tesco later admitted some samples contained more than 60% horsemeat.
Horsemeat was found in burgers processed at factories owned by ABP Food Group in Yorkshire and Ireland. The same company supplied burgers to Lidl, Iceland, Tesco, Aldi and Dunnes stores, as well as Burger King restaurants.
Even Waitrose has been implicated for mislabelling, when pork was found in its beef meatballs.
A poll by Retail Week magazine found that 45% of shoppers would avoid the meat aisles of the chains found to be selling horsemeat labelled as beef. Nearly three-in-four customers said they felt suppliers were most at fault for the contamination, but stores including Tesco, Asda, the Co-operative and Iceland are likely to suffer, the survey found.
The Food Standards Agency has ordered all meat suppliers and sellers to test their meat products, with the first tranche of results expected to be released on Friday.