Morning business news - March 3

Monday 03 March 2014 10.03
Morning business news
Morning business news

Bank of Ireland has reported a loss before tax for last year of €569 million, significantly down from a loss of €1.4 billion in 2012.

And its operating profit - before impairment charges - was just over a billion euro, up from €224 million the year before.

The bank says it was a year of substantial progress for the bank, with its financial performance improving by almost a billion euro, and taxpayer support repayed.

Bank of Ireland’s chief executive Richie Boucher said the reduction in losses had come as a result of a number of measures which the bank had undertaken over recent years.

In terms of impairments, he said the bank was making progress too.

“Some of the key features that are happening are the reduction in non-performing loans, so the number of our customers who are defaulting has continued to reduce,” he said. “And we have continued to be able to restructure on a sustainable basis a significant number of our customers who have challenges.”

He said the bank was seeing a falling number of mortgage customers entering arrears, while they were able to offer solutions to the majority of those who were having difficulties with repayments.

In cases where a solution could not be found, however, Mr Boucher said the bank would look to a voluntary sale of the property or a repossession.

“I think there will be an increase in repossessions”, he said. “I think it will be not dramatic, it will be slow over a period of time.

“The property market is showing considerable signs of improvement... overall there is an improvement and there is demand for property.”

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Also with results this morning - insurer FBD has reported profit before tax of €51.5m slightly lower than in 2012 - it says that's because of excellent results in 2012, and as a very strong investment performance was offset by a small number of very large accident and liability injury claims.

FBD also says it saw higher customer numbers, with its market share increasing to about 13.4% - its highest ever share of the Irish Insurance market.

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Russia's rouble has fallen to a fresh all-time low against both the dollar and the euro after the political turmoil in Ukraine intensified.

The rouble fell 2.5% this morning.

Stocks on Moscow's MICEX main stock index also fell, dropping 5% in early trading.

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The Irish coffee group Campbell Bewley trebled its profit in 2012 to €1.5 million after seeing strong revenue growth at its UK and US divisions.

Latest accounts for Campbell Bewley Group show that the company increased turnover by 14.2% to €97.5 million.

Its UK revenues almost doubled to €10.5 million, because of the full-year impact of its acquisition of the Darlington's business in September 2011.

In the Republic, revenues rose by 6.4% to €37.5 million while turnover from the US and other markets increased by 11.5% to €49.5 million.