Morning business news - February 7Friday 07 February 2014 10.32
Eircom is seeking an extension of payment terms on its debt for two years from September 2017 to September 2019. The telecoms company made the announcement alongside its half year results today. The figures show revenue down 7% compared to the same six month period in 2012, as has been the pattern in recent years, but the rate at which revenue is falling has slowed. Earnings before interest, tax and depreciation charges were down 1% to €233m.
Eircom's chief financial officer Richard Moat said the profitability of its mobile unit continues to improve and while overall revenues for the group are down year-on-year it has seen an increase in revenue over the past three months compared to the previous quarter. He says the decision to extend the payment terms on its debt was made as the debt market is very good at the moment, and the move will strengthen the company's balance sheet. Eircom's revenues and earnings will have improved by then, and the move will allow the company to continue to invest in its new technologies and services, he added. On the performance of the business, Mr Moat said that Eircom saw another stabilisation over the most recent quarter - the sixth quarterly improvement in a row. This was down to the improved profitability in its mobile division as well as continued growth in its broadband operations.
MORNING BRIEFS - Danske Bank is reported to be offloading 600 buy-to-let properties. Bloomberg News cites an anonymous source who says Dankse will look to sell the 600 rental properties, on which previous owners have defaulted on their debts, as a single lot. There is no detail on where these 600 properties are located but that transaction would - if it happens- be a very interesting test of the residential property market.
*** Software company Oracle has pulled out of a product placement deal with film studio Paramount. It has requested its brand be removed from the film "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit". The film, currently on release in Ireland, is based on the early career of CIA analyst Jack Ryan. According to the Financial Times, Oracle was uneasy about being associated with a film rooted in the world of espionage. The decision may have been influenced by whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations about the US National Security Agency spying on citizens by accessing information held by various technology companies.