AER LINGUS' US PARTNER JETBLUE NOT INTERESTED IN BUYING IRISH AIRLINE - The chief executive of Aer Lingus’s US partner said today it was not interested in acquiring all or part of the Irish airline, writes the Irish Times. Aer Lingus this week moved into US carrier JetBlue’s terminal in New York’s JFK’s airport, strengthening a partnership that allows passengers to travel between a range of US and Irish destinations via New York and Boston by connecting with both carriers’ services. JetBlue has several times been suggested as a suitor for Aer Lingus, and the Irish carrier’s management last year raised the possibility that the US partner would buy the State’s 25% stake when it is put up for sale. However, JetBlue’s chief executive David Barger today said his company is not going to buy into its Irish partner. “I do not really think that it’s a proper use of our shareholders’ capital,” he said. Mr Barger, who was speaking following a discussion on airline alliances at the Capa Centre for Aviation conference in the Ritz Carlton in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, added that the pair’s existing relationship has strong potential for growth. He pointed out that Aer Lingus could fly to more US gateways, opening up the possibility of further connections with JetBlue services, or open a direct US-Cork service.
UK POST OFFICE SET TO ROLL OUT BANK OF IRELAND CURRENT ACCOUNTS - Bank of Ireland is poised for what could be a major expansion of its UK operations after the UK Post Office announced plans to offer current accounts to customers. The UK Post Office offers its financial services, including the new current accounts, through a joint venture with the Irish bank, says the Irish Independent. The post office said it plans to roll out current accounts for post office customers through nearly 12,000 British branches, starting this spring. The scheme will initially be launched on a pilot basis. Deposits placed with the joint venture are held on Bank of Ireland's balance sheet through its UK subsidiary. The joint venture between Bank of Ireland and the UK Post Office has been running since 2004. They already offer services like savings accounts and mortgages and have 2.8 million customers and £17 billion (€20 billion) worth of deposits. Plans to offer current accounts have been in the works for four years.
80% OF DAIRYGOLD SHAREHOLERS ENDORSE €150m PLAN - Dairygold shareholders have endorsed the co-op’s post-2015 €150m expansion plan, following two back-to-back meetings yesterday at its premises in Mallow, Co Cork. The Irish Examiner says that just over 2,000 members attended the AGM and SGM at the Powder Store in Dairygold’s main yard in Mallow, debating and then voting upon three motions. The first motion was tabled by Dairygold’s general committee, calling for members to endorse the co-op’s financial plan for post-quota expansion, including the disputed milk supply agreement (MSA), and was passed by an 80% majority. The second motion, tabled by DMSSG, a group of Dairygold shareholders opposed to the MSA, calling for the MSA plan to be shelved and for a new plan to be devised, was rejected by a similar margin: 79.2% against, 20.8% for. This group’s other motion, seeking independent quality testing of their milk supply, was also rejected by 72% to 28%. Dairygold’s executive team has welcomed the result, adding that the recent months of discussion and analysis have been positive proof of the group’s inclusive approach, and a confirmation of its co-operative ethos. Dairygold chief executive, Jim Woulfe, said: “I am delighted. This is an overwhelming vote in favour of our strategy, and a significant endorsement of our plan. We do encourage everybody at this point in time to consider their own expansion strategy.
EX-KPMG PARTNER GIVEN ROLEX FOR TIPS - Scott London, the former KPMG partner who issued an unusual public confession to insider trading, was charged on Thursday with sharing confidential secrets of five companies with his golf partner in exchange for bags of cash and a Rolex watch, says the Financial Times. The US attorney’s office in Los Angeles filed a criminal complaint charging Mr London with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He was expected to appear in court later on Thursday, his lawyer said. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted. Mr London, the former head of KPMG’s audit practice for the Pacific Southwest, allegedly gave confidential information about clients Herbalife, Skechers, as well as Deckers Outdoor and former clients RSC Holdings and Pacific Capital, to his golf partner Bryan Shaw, a jeweller. In exchange for the information, he received a $12,000 Rolex Daytona Cosmograph watch, cash in bundles of $10,000, dinners and more than $25,000 in concert tickets, authorities allege. Mr Shaw made more than $1m by trading on the secret information, authorities said. Mr Shaw, who has been co-operating with authorities, secretly recorded conversations with Mr London. Mr Shaw did not face criminal charges on Thursday.