Today in the pressThursday 27 March 2014 10.08
ULSTER BANK WEIGHS UP EX-DUNNE HOTEL OFFLOAD - Ulster Bank is considering offloading its interest in the three Dublin hotels it backed Seán Dunne to buy for almost €380 million in 2005 in two deals that surpassed all previous records, says the Irish Times. It emerged yesterday that the lender’s parent, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), is considering selling its subsidiary’s holdings in about 40 Irish hotels as part of an overall run-down of toxic assets. Reports suggested they would have a total value of €400 million. The properties include the adjoining Jurys (now the Ballsbridge Hotel), Towers (now the Ballsbridge Towers) and Berkeley Court (now the Clyde Court) hotels in Ballsbridge, Dublin, which Mr Dunne, the now bankrupt property developer, bought in late 2005 from the Jurys Doyle group for €377 million in two of the highest- profile transactions of the time. In October 2005 he acquired the Jurys Ballsbridge and Towers hotels for €258 million, the highest per acre price paid for real estate in the Republic. The following month he bought the Berkeley Court for €119 million. Ulster Bank provided the finance to Mr Dunne, and subsequently syndicated part of the loans to Netherlands-based Rabobank and Icelandic lender Kaupthing, which was bailed out by its own government.
UK WIND ENERGY DEAL 'WOULD CREATE 47,000 JOBS BY 2020' - More than 47,000 jobs would be created in the development of Ireland's wind energy sector by 2020 if the country can progress a multi-billion euro plan to export energy to the UK, a major report predicts. The report, prepared by international consultancy group Poyry for groups including the Irish Wind Energy Association, Coillte, and electricity provider SSE, also forecasts that meeting ambitious energy export plans would see over €30 billion invested in Ireland's wind energy sector by 2030. The number of jobs Poyry has forecast is based on so-called 'person years', where one job is assumed to last for one year, writes the Irish Times. The study estimates that if Ireland can export wind energy to the UK, then the country will quickly become a net exporter of energy. By 2020, Ireland could be exporting €1.5 billion a year worth of energy to the UK, with the figure rising to €2.8 billion by 2030, according to Poyry. There's a plan to export wind energy from Ireland to help the UK meet its own renewable energy usage targets. However, the proposal is currently stalled.
DOONBEG PROPERTY OWNERS 'FACE RUIN' - Most of the investors who purchased properties with rental guarantee agreements attached to the Doonbeg golf resort now “face ruin”. That is according to one investor yesterday as it was confirmed Tom Kavanagh of Kavanagh Fennell has been appointed as liquidator to Doonbeg Golf Club Ltd, reports the Irish Examiner. The most recent accounts lodged with the Companies Office show Doonbeg Golf Club Ltd’s largest creditors were connected companies owned €77m. The owners of investor properties with rental guarantees ranging from €1.2m to €1.8m will be categorised as unsecured creditors in the process. At a recent Circuit Court hearing concerning actions taken against a collapsed Doonbeg firm by three separate investor property owners with rental guarantees, Donal O’Rourke BL said that the chances of the plaintiffs getting anything “is minimal”. Asked what she expects from the liquidation process, the investor - who did not wish to be named - said yesterday “nothing”. The most recent accounts show that the club’s inability to fund the payments to the owners of properties with rental guarantees was a factor in the club placing itself into voluntary receivership. Doonbeg golf club generated revenues of €73.5m from the sale of properties at the site over the years before it was placed in receivership. US billionaire, Donald Trump has since purchased the resort for a reported €15m.
CHINESE POLICE DETAIN 'RUMOUR-MONGER' AS RUN ON SHEYANG BANK ENDS - A three-day run on a small Chinese bank ended as swiftly as it began after government officials and banking executives came out in force to assure depositors that their money was safe, says the Financial Times. In a rare move to defend a single institution, the China Banking Association, an industry group, issued a statement on Wednesday declaring that the finances of Jiangsu Sheyang Rural Commercial Bank, the lender hit by the bank run, were in good shape and that it faced no risk of collapse. The intervention followed signs that the panic was spreading more widely, with the Rural Commercial Bank of Huanghai, another small bank in the area, also facing a rush of withdrawals. The intervention followed signs that the panic was spreading more widely, with the Rural Commercial Bank of Huanghai, another small bank in the area, also facing a rush of withdrawals. Police detained the person whom they believe started the rumour. The local government had vowed to crack down on those spreading rumours about the banks’ troubles. By late Wednesday, the crowds trying to pull their money from the banks had dissipated, replaced largely with curious onlookers, according to local reports. The bank run appears to have been an isolated problem, occurring in Sheyang, a coastal county in Jiangsu province where nerves were already frazzled after a series of loosely regulated local investment groups had collapsed in recent months.