The sale of assets worth more than €22 billion by the liquidators of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, which is to be completed by the end of the year, kicks off on Monday of next week according to The Irish Times. Parties that have expressed an interest in the loans being sold and have signed confidentiality agreements will start getting detailed information on the first group of loans from that date, and will be given a short period to make indicative bids. The initiation of the sales process for the so-called Project Evergreen loans will be quickly followed by the beginning of an identical process in relation to three other loan types. Project Evergreen involves Irish-originated corporate loans to trading entities such as Arnotts and Topaz with 50 “borrower groups” and loans totalling €3.5 billion. The other three groups of loans have been called Rock, Sand and Stone and involve, respectively, UK-originated commercial real estate loans, mortgages associated with the former Irish Nationwide, and Irish-originated commercial real-estate loans.
The Irish Examiner reports on comments by IFA presidential candidate Jen Bergin, who has called on the Government to reintroduce its ban on below-cost selling to offset the “destructive impact” of food retailers on farm incomes. He has called for a radical rethink of the retail sector’s proposed code of conduct legislation. He said agriculture must be at the centre of any Government initiative to stimulate economic growth and employment. Mr Bergin said: “The growing cost/price squeeze and the incessant power of the major retailers are real barriers to viable farm incomes. The industry must look at the development of measures such as fixed and forward price models for inputs and outputs that would help to insulate farmers against the effects of global food price volatility.” A suckler beef, tillage, and sheep farmer based in Ballacolla, Co Laois, Mr Bergin’s views on retail sector reform are shared by Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness. An EU committee chaired by Ms McGuinness is reviewing whether an EU-wide retail code should be mandatory. The retail sector wants to develop its own voluntary code.
London mayor Boris Johnson has proposed a new “London visa” which would make it easier for talented tech experts and fashion designers around the world to get jobs in the capital, reports The Financial Times. The plan, submitted to the British Home Office, is an attempt by City Hall to boost tech start-ups and fashion studios which struggle with the bureaucracy and cost of the newly tightened visa system. Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, told a London technology festival last week that the UK visa needed to “go much further” and be “easier to get” if London was to compete with Silicon Valley for the best brains from India and China. Under the proposed system, City Hall would be given a yearly allocation of 100 of the government’s 1,000 existing “exceptional talent” visas – designed for world-class scientists, artists and performers. The mayor’s office would then work with Tech City, the Fashion Council and London Design Festival to choose the best applicants and give them an official endorsement that would speed their entry. Mr Johnson said this was about attracting the “best and brightest” to London.
Associated British Foods forecast "good progress" in full year earnings per share after a strong finish to the year from its Primark discount fashion chain, which trades here as Penneys, reports The Irish Independent. The retail and food group also said today that adjusted operating profit for the second half of its year to Sept. 14 would be ahead of expectations thanks to Primark's performance. It said Primark's full year sales were expected to be 22% ahead of the prior year at actual exchange rates, with like-for-like sales growth expected to be close to 5%.