Today in the press

Friday 08 November 2013 10.17
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers

DUNNE TELLS COURT NO PROSPECT OF IRISH RETURN - Bankrupt developer Sean Dunne has told the High Court he “cannot currently conceive” of any circumstances where he would return to Ireland and instead hopes to work in the US “into his seventies”. Mr Dunne (59) said he hopes, following his discharge from US bankruptcy, to work in business in America as he considers it offers the best economic opportunity for his family. He intends to stay in the US indefinitely, “most likely for the remainder of my life”. Of his six children from two marriages, five live in the US and one in Ireland, he said in affidavits. The Irish Times says that Mr Dunne made the affidavits in proceedings in which he wants orders overturning a High Court decision last July granting Ulster Bank’s petition, supported by Nama, to have him adjudicated bankrupt here arising from default on €161 million loans made for properties in Dublin. In opposing the application, Ulster Bank disputes Mr Dunne’s claims he has abandoned Ireland in favour of the US and contends his sworn statements fall well short of showing a clear intent not to return here. It claims Mr Dunne had told the Irish media, after he filed for bankruptcy in the US, that he intended to return to do business again in Ireland one day and that he and his wife hoped to have their sons educated in secondary schools here. His mother, daughter and siblings still live in Ireland, it noted.

***
FLEETMATICS' SHARE PRICE ROCKETS 17% - Shares in Dublin-based Fleetmatics soared in New York yesterday, after the company said sales are set to improve faster than expected next year, writes the Irish Independent. Shares rose as much as 17% to $37.90 in New York after Fleetmatics said it expects sales of between $175.9m and $176.5m this year, and sales of $225m to $227m next year. The NYSE-listed software-as-a-service player, said it expects fourth quarter earnings per share to average 21 cents to 23 cents. Shares in Fleetmatics have soared since the firm listed last year and posted a series of results that beat expectations. The Dublin-headquartered company allows fleet operators to use the internet to track vehicles and their fuel usage, speed and mileage, as well as other insights into the performance of their mobile workforce. The company helps customers track more than 417,000 vehicles. "Our ability to exceed the high end of our expectations across all key operating metrics during the third quarter was driven by the ongoing strong demand for our comprehensive fleet management solution," chief executive Jim Travers said.

***
BOX OFFICE HITS HELP ABBEY RETURN TO PROFIT - Box offices successes including George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara and Frank McGuiness’s dramatisation of The Dead by James Joyce at the Abbey Theatre are expected to contribute to the theatre producing a profit of €250,000 this year. The national theatre returning to profit in 2013 follows two years of operating losses at the Abbey, writes the Irish Examiner. New accounts filed by Abbey Theatre Amharclann na Mainistreach with the Companies Office for 2012 show that the theatre company’s operating losses increased more than threefold to €1.4m last year. The chief factor behind the operating loss was an exceptional cost of €969,393 relating to the Abbey closing down its pension scheme. The figures show that before the exceptional pension cost is taken into account the Abbey recorded a loss of €434,161 in the 12 months to the end of December last. The statements point out that the Abbey is on target to record a €251,000 surplus for 2013 and “the board believes that on the basis of the current plans and projected results the company is viable”. News of the theatre returning to profit in 2013 coincides with the Arts Council confirming that it is seeking consultants to carry out an independent review of the operations of the Abbey. 

***
RBS TO PAY US FINE OVER MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES - Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed to pay $150m to settle US civil regulatory charges that it misled investors in a 2007 mortgage-backed security, but the resolution does not end the UK bank’s legal troubles. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that an RBS unit - then known as Greenwich Capital Markets - misled investors in a $2.2 billion MBS security by telling them loans backing the security “generally” met underwriting guidelines. At the time, the SEC alleges, RBS knew that nearly 30% of the loans in the security, named Soundview Home Loan Trust 2007-OPT1, fell short of standards and should have been excluded. RBS, which did not admit or deny wrongdoing, said the payment was covered by provisions that it has already taken, writes the Financial Times. The latest US fine will fuel complaints by UK politicians about the transfer of value from British taxpayers, who own 81% of RBS, to the US government. In its settlement over manipulation of Libor benchmark interest rates, RBS paid the bulk of a £390m fine to US authorities, while only £87.5m went to the UK regulator. The SEC suggested the settlement would return money to harmed investors. George Canellos, co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said in a statement that the deal “secures more than $150m in relief for those harmed by this shoddy securitisation”.

Keywords: presswatch