Today in the pressFriday 16 August 2013 09.03
ARNOTTS WORKING ON DEBT RESTRUCTURING PLAN - Arnotts is working on a plan to restructure its €368.6 million debt, reports The Irish Times. This includes securing a potential acquirer for the loans to the company held by state-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, which is in liquidation. Arnotts has engaged financial group Investec to seek a potential acquirer for the IBRC loans as part of a wider a process aimed at reducing its debts to a sustainable level. The company’s other lender, Ulster Bank, is participating in this process. Arnotts chairman Nigel Blow told The Irish Times that its corporate adviser Investec had identified “four or five” groups interested in helping the company refinance its loans with IBRC. These are a mix of financial and trade players and indicative bids are due by the end of August. “We have engaged Investec to try and activate an outcome that would be desirable for the company,” said Mr Blow. “We are confident that we will find an investor from the process that will be right for the company and right for Ulster Bank.” It is understood that Ulster Bank remains supportive of the business and will participate in an overall restructuring of the company’s balance sheet.
ROCHE FAMILY TO BENEFIT FROM NTR SHARE BUY-BACK - The Roche family and Investment group One51 are set to be the big beneficiaries from a €100m share buy-back planned by utility group NTR, according to The Irish Independent. The company has confirmed that it plans to return the cash to shareholders via the buy-back once approval is received at an extraordinary general meeting next month. NTR, which has radically restructured after sustaining heavy losses in the past few years, has completed a turnaround plan a year ahead of schedule, said its chief executive Rosheen McGuckian. With the €100m split equally between shareholders, the Roche family would net close to €40m in respect of their near-40pc stake in NTR, while One51 would get €24.4m in relation to its 24.4%c share in the business. NTR has €151m in cash on its books. It will pay 95 cent per share. Its shares, which change hands on the so-called 'grey' market, have traded as low as 25 cent in the past year. The share redemption comes as NTR completes a process of returning to profitability after sustaining heavy losses. It sold its Greenstar waste-recycling business in the United States earlier this year for €135m.
LIMERICK BROTHERS LAUNCH STRIPE IN BRITAIN - Millionaire Limerick brothers Patrick and John Collison’s developer-friendly payments company has officially launched in Britain, reports The Irish Examiner. British website developers will now be able to facilitate card payments with ease and get access to the same instant activation that was a hit with US-based website developers which required multi-payment card acceptance including American Express, a brand many merchants have turned away from due to high merchant service charges. Stripe and the Collison brothers have implemented multi-currency support this time round, meaning UK businesses will be able to charge customers around the world in dollars, pounds, and euro, with Stripe handling currency conversions and managing account deposits. The brothers’ accumulated wealth and noted success with Stripe in the US has dismissed any thoughts that the payments service is a PayPal clone. Stripe has been the source of much excitement since it first commenced its funding rounds. A total of $38m in investment has flowed into the innovative enterprise thanks to the help of a number of high-profile investors including PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Elon Musk.
SELL-OFF AS MARKET PREPARES FOR FED ‘TAPERING’ - Expectations of an early move by the US Federal Reserve to slow its support for the US economy firmed yesterday after new data showed a strengthening labour market and higher inflation, according to The Financial Times. The data triggered a sell-off in equity and bond markets with investors bracing for a so-called “tapering” of the massive purchases of bonds by the Fed that have helped prop up the economy since the financial crisis by keeping interest rates low. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury rose past 2.75% for the first time since July 2011, breaching a ceiling that it had set during the two previous bouts of Fed tapering talk over the past six weeks.