Today in the press

Friday 25 April 2014 11.25
A look at some of today's business stories in today's newspapers
A look at some of today's business stories in today's newspapers

IBRC LOAN SALE PROCEEDS MAY EXCEED €12.9 BILLION - The special liquidators of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation have told the Government they expect the proceeds from the sale of loan portfolios at the defunct institution to exceed the €12.9 billion in IBRC-related debt issued by the State at the time of its winding up last year. As a result there will be no additional taxpayer liability relating to the former Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide above the €34.7 billion that was given to the banks in 2009/10 via share capital and the Anglo promissory note. It is understood that the Department of Finance will announce these details shortly. To date, the special liquidators, Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of KPMG, have announced that they have sold IBRC loans with a face value of €19.8 billion from a total book of €21.7 billion. But the liquidators have never commented on how much was paid for the loans. The Irish Times has learned that the liquidators expect to net more than the €12.9 billion in government-guaranteed debt securities paid by Nama last year to acquire the floating charge over IBRC’s assets from the Central Bank of Ireland. 

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FAILURE BY AIB TO MEET LOAN DEADLINE COSTS STATE €280m - The cost of bailing out AIB has gone up an additional €280m, after the bank was once again unable to pay interest on government rescue loans. The lender will instead pay the bill with shares in the already nationalised lender, reports the Irish Independent. The bank said it expects to miss a deadline to pay the bill which falls due in less than three weeks. Instead, the bank said new ordinary shares will be handed over to settle the bill. The Government already owns more than 99% of the bank after a €20 billion bailout. The interest is due on a €3.5 billion portion of so-called preference shares held by the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission (NPRFC). AIB said if the annual cash dividend is not settled in cash, it must be settled in ordinary shares. "Following careful consideration of the interests of the bank and its shareholders, AIB has determined that the dividend of €280m, due 13 May 2014, will be settled in ordinary shares in lieu of a cash payment," it said. "As a result AIB becomes obliged to issue and allot ordinary shares to the NPRFC in accordance with AIB's Articles of Association."

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VINCENT BROWN'S MEDIA FIRM TURNS A PROFIT AS LOSSES CONTINUE TO SHRINK - The media firm owned by broadcaster and columnist, Vincent Browne recorded profits of €135,831 last year, new figures show. This followed Browne’s Village Communications Ltd reducing its accumulated losses by that amount from €568,445 to €432,614 in the 12 months to the end of December last. The 2013 performance continues the strong showing of the company in recent years where it has reduced its accumulated losses from €1m at the end of 2010, says today's Irish Examiner. The losses had accumulated through Browne’s publication of Village magazine. Browne’s editorship of the magazine ceased in 2008 and it continues to be published by Ormond Quay Publishing Ltd. Village Communications Ltd continues to trade through Browne’s TV3 income as it pays down the debts built up by Browne’s costly Village venture. According to the accounts just filed with the Companies Office, the amount Village Communications Ltd owes to creditors reduced further last year, from €348,991 to €247,396. This is down from €1,064,307 owed at the end of 2009. 

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SALE OF HSBC TOWER HINTS AT RETURN TO PROPERTY BOOM TIMES - London’s biggest and most expensive office building, HSBC’s global headquarters, is up for sale at what would be a record price for the British market, in a sign that the capital’s ­commercial property market is booming again. The 44-storey, 1.1m sq ft building in Canary Wharf, east London, is being ­marketed by the estate agents JLL and GM Real Estate for offers above £1.1 billion, say sources with knowledge of the property. Its fate contrasts sharply with the Gherkin tower in the City of London, which called in the receivers on Thursday after its owners defaulted on bank loans. It is not just a tale of two towers, but also a tale of two property cycles, writes the Financial Times. The Gherkin was bought at the height of property mania in 2006, using a complicated financing structure involving unhedged loans priced in Swiss francs. Meanwhile, the arrival back on the market of the HSBC tower indicates that investors’ appetite for commercial property is growing fast. The HSBC tower became the most expensive building in London when it sold for £1.09 billion at the height of the UK property boom in 2007. HSBC has a 13-year lease on the building and is ­committed to annual upward-only inflation-linked rent reviews, according to sources familiar with the tenancy arrangements. This would make it an attractive proposition for investors seeking a hedge against inflation.