DELOITTE TO CONSIDER DUBLIN BUS STRIKE COSTS - The Department of Transport has retained accounting and consultancy firm Deloitte to look at the financial implications of any further industrial action at Dublin Bus. A three-day strike at the state-owned transport company in August saw it stripped of €423,000 from its state subvention by the National Transport Authority in addition to the loss of fares, writes the Irish Times. Drivers, who have previously rejected a number of cost-saving initiatives aimed at reducing costs by about €11 million this year, are to ballot again this week on new proposals. The Department of Transport was unavailable to comment on the retention of Deloitte yesterday. But informed sources played down reports that Deloitte was to advise on a possible liquidation of Dublin Bus. Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Alan Kelly last week warned that the outlook for Dublin Bus and its employees was “very stark” if a final effort to resolve a dispute over cost-savings did not succeed. The Ministers welcomed the publication of final proposals by former trade union official Noel Dowling and management consultant Ultan Courtney to resolve the dispute over cost-savings, and they urged drivers at the company to accept them.
1,000 AIB JOBS UNDER THREAT AS BANK PLANS OUTSOURCING - State-owned AIB is considering outsourcing as many as 1,000 jobs - and cannot rule out some of the work ultimately going abroad. The main union at the bank said the idea of jobs at a state-owned bank going abroad needed to be examined if the Government was serious about the jobs crisis at home, says the Irish Independent. "It seems to us that maintaining jobs in this country should be at least as big a priority as creating new jobs," a spokesman for the Irish Bank Officials' Organisation (IBOA) said. AIB confirmed that outsourcing was being considered as part of a plan aiming to "reduce costs and increase efficiencies; outsourcing of certain functions would be considered in consultation with the IBOA and affected staff". Under outsourcing arrangements, the bank would continue to provide customer services but depending in the function some, or even all, of the work could be done by third-party contractors. Once the work moves outside AIB, it could end up being done anywhere, including by lower-cost operators abroad. Staff and the union have been briefed on the review over the past week. But it's understood the process is at an early stage. Even so, the bank is looking at cutting up to 8% of its 12,000 remaining staff under the plan.
CITYJET POSTS PRE-TAX LOSSES OF €208.9m - Exceptional and redundancy costs totalling €185m contributed to Dublin- based airline, Cityjet last year recording pre-tax losses of €208.9m. The airline’s parent Air France KLM is currently in advanced negotiations to sell the airline off to a third party and new accounts for Cityjet Ltd show that the airline recorded revenues of €260.2m in the 12 months to the end of December last, says the Irish Examiner. This represented a 9% increase on the €238m in revenues recorded for a nine-month period to the end of December 2011. The pre-tax loss last year followed pre-tax losses of €8.86m in 2011. The figures show operating losses at the airline rose more than three-fold from €6.2m to €21.3m last year with exceptional costs contributing to the losses exceeding €208m. A note attached to the accounts shows Air France provided €12m to Cityjet since the start of this year “to fund the ongoing operations of the company”.
MORTGAGE WATCHDOG SEEKS $6 BILLION FROM BANK OF AMERICA - The US government agency that secured a large slice of the record $13 billion penalty against JPMorgan Chase is demanding even more from Bank of America, as it ratchets up pressure on other big banks. Regulators at the Federal Housing Finance Agency are seeking a penalty of more than $6 billion from BofA, compared with the $4 billion to be paid by JPMorgan, according to people familiar with the matter. JPMorgan agreed to pay a total of $13 billion to a variety of US state and federal agencies during a phone call on Friday night between Jamie Dimon, chief executive, and Eric Holder, attorney-general. The penalty, if confirmed, would be the biggest imposed on a single company by US authorities. The $4 billion portion that JPMorgan has agreed to pay the FHFA may end up being the largest single amount, although the remaining $9 billion - a combination of $5 billion in cash and $4 billion forgiveness of consumer debt - is still being divided up between the Department of Justice and New York’s attorney-general. The FHFA is the housing regulator that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage companies which came close to failing in 2008 because of the bad mortgage-backed securities they acquired from banks.