Today in the press

Friday 10 May 2013 10.48
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers

DAA DEAL PUTS SHANNON VALUE AT UNDER €35m - Shannon Airport is valued at €35m under the deal that frees the airport from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), according to documents seen by the Irish Independent. The DAA will take on €14m of Shannon debt under the deal, according to the documents. Shannon Airport has been separated from the DAA following a government decision made at the end of last year, but it will remain in state hands. Particulars of the sale contract were filed with the Companies Office earlier this week. They show that the DAA transferred ownership and control of Shannon Airport to local management on December 31 last year. The purchase price is listed as €35m but the deal was sealed by payment of a single €1 share to Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin. Shannon's terminal buildings are valued at €9.86m and land and airfields are worth €15m, the filing states. The business has €6.9m in cash on deposit and elsewhere, and other property valued at €5.4m. The new management team at Shannon have been tasked with ending a six-year slide in traffic numbers. In 2012, the decline actually accelerated, hitting 14%. Some 1.4 million journeys were made through Shannon in 2012, versus 1.6 million a year earlier.

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FIRE SALE OF IBRC LOANS NOT AN OPTION, SAYS MICHAEL NOONAN - Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said there will be no “fire sale” of loans as part of the liquidation of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation and that Ireland is on track to successfully exit the EU-IMF bailout at the end of 2013. In an interview published in the May edition of Accounting and Business Ireland , a magazine published by accountancy body ACCA Ireland, Mr Noonan said: “There is no question of a fire sale of IBRC assets. The legislation ensures that the taxpayer is protected and will receive the maximum value for the assets in IBRC.” Quoting the interview, the Irish Times reports that Mr Noonan said the liquidators would undertake a valuation process on the IBRC loan book and that those who satisfy the minimum valuation “may bid for the assets in a sales process”. The remaining loans will be transferred to the National Asset Management Agency in “repayment of IBRC’s debt to Nama”. Mr Noonan said the recent deal with the European Central Bank on IBRC’s €3 billion a year promissory note would reduce the State’s general government deficit by about €1 billion or 0.6% of GDP per annum. “[This] will bring us €1 billion closer to attaining our 3% deficit target by 2015,” he added.

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HARVEY NORMAN NARROWS IRISH LOSSES TO €19.4m - The managing director of the Irish operation of Harvey Norman said yesterday he expects the business will narrow its losses further in 2013, reports the Irish Examiner. Blaine Callard was commenting on new accounts lodged with the Companies Office that show the Australian-owned business recorded an underlying loss of €19.4m in the 12 months to the end of June last - down from the €22m loss recorded in 2011. Mr Callard said that for the nine-month period since the end of June last year, Harvey Norman in the Republic and Northern Ireland had the strongest like-for-like sales growth of any region globally for Harvey Norman. Sales increased in the Republic by 8% on the previous year during the nine-month period with sales rising by 11.2% in the North. Mr Callard said: “We continue to narrow our Irish losses and expect further loss reduction in the 2013 financial year. Harvey Norman remains fully committed to our Irish operation. We will continue to assess the viability of every location and ensure our retail network is fit for purpose. “Whilst some Irish landlords have made modest rental concessions, many have not. We are determined to correct the distortions of boom- time upward only rents. “In a very difficult economic and retail environment, we continue to grow sales in our Irish operation. There is little indication of an improvement in consumer confidence or an upturn in the retail environment, rather we have been taking market share from competitors,'' he added.

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ICAHN AND SOUTHEASTERN TABLE RIVAL PROPOSAL TO $24 BILLION DELL BUYOUT - Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management, two of Dell’s largest shareholders, have teamed up on a new offer to challenge the proposed $24.4 billion management-led buyout of the personal computer maker, according to people familiar with the matter. In a letter put to a special committee of Dell’s board on Thursday night, Mr Icahn and Southeastern proposed offering shareholders $12 a share in either cash or newly issued stock, the people said. The Financial Times says that such a structure would allow shareholders to continue holding stock in the company, giving those that want it the opportunity for gains if the slumping PC maker can turn itself round. However, the offer is less than the $13.65 per share being offered by founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners. Southeastern, the investment firm that originally proposed that Dell go private last year, has from the beginning opposed the deal led by Mr Dell. The Memphis-based firm was not invited to participate in the buyout, and it has since become the deal’s most vocal opponent. Mr Icahn showed up in the process at the end of the 45-day “go-shop” period, during which Dell was allowed to solicit rival offers to the buyout. The billionaire investor offered about $15 a share to buy 58% of Dell, leaving a publicly traded stub.

Keywords: presswatch