Today in the pressMonday 12 May 2014 08.58
PERMANENT TSB SEEKS TENDERS FOR LOAN BOOKS SALE - Permanent TSB has in recent days invited corporate advisers to pitch to sell two of its loan books with a face value of €2.5 billion. It has invited tenders from accounting firms and corporate advisers to sell its €2.1 billion Irish commercial real estate (CRE) book and its €465 million Springboard Mortgages subprime portfolio, says the Irish Times. In March, State-owned Permanent TSB said its strategy was to sell the two businesses either this year or in early 2015. The decision to appoint advisers signals it has accelerated its sale process as international appetite for Irish loan books remains strong. Just 31% of the CRE book is performing and the bank has taken a provision of €900 million on these loans. Certus, a loan-outsourcing specialist, manages this book. Springboard compromises 2,200 mortgages which are generally performing poorly. Permanent TSB effectively shut this business down in terms of new lending some years ago and it has been hoping to sell it. The business was originally a joint venture between Irish Life & Permanent and US investment bank Merrill Lynch to sell mortgages in 2007 to what it called “near-prime” customers - or people without long credit histories.
VODAFONE'S IRISH CUSTOMERS MISS OUT ON PRICE DEAL - Vodafone, Ireland's largest mobile phone provider, has ruled out giving bill-pay customers here a fixed price promise. The UK branch of the firm said last Friday all pay-monthly customers - and not just new ones since January - will not have to pay any increases in their monthly line rental mid-contract. The promise also applies to monthly mobile or tablet line rental for the 12 or 24 months of a contract. But Vodafone Ireland's 2.15 million mobile phone customers were dealt a blow, writes the Irish Independent. "In terms of the Irish market, our terms and conditions are separate to those of the UK, and therefore we are not in a position to confirm agreeing to a fixed price," the company said. Its customer bases rises to 2.4 million when the fixed line and DSL business are included. Cindy Rose, of Vodafone UK, said customers were asked what they thought was fair when it came to charging.
TRUMP MOVES TO SAVE DOONBEG COURSE - US billionaire Donald Trump has moved to protect his €15m Irish investment from the ravages of global warming. Ahead of his first visit to his Trump Doonbeg golf resort today, Mr Trump’s Irish firm has lodged plans with Clare County Council to prevent further erosion to his course, says the Irish Examiner. The plans follow over €1m damage caused by major winter storms to the links course that forced the club to abandon two holes, resulting in the club relocating the 5th green and the 14th hole. Yesterday, Doonbeg locals expressed excitement at the prospect of the colourful businessman touching down in Shannon Airport this morning for his overnight stay in Doonbeg. Local publican Tommy Tubridy said: “We are all on a high at the moment. There is great excitement around and already the club has taken on more staff since Trump purchased it and that is great for the local area.” Community activist Tommy Comerford said: “Mr Trump’s visit is going to be a short one, but he has big plans for Doonbeg and that is great for all of west Clare. The golf course is looking pristine at the moment.” In its bid to protect his investment, Mr Trump’s firm, TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd, has lodged plans to put in place three coastal protection works fronting onto the 6th tee box and 13th green, the 14th tee, and the 18th tee.
PRESSURE GROWS ON ORACLE OVER ELLISON PAY - Oracle is facing renewed pressure over the pay of its founder and chief executive Larry Ellison from investors who say the software company has ignored mounting shareholder concerns, says the Financial Times. A group of pension funds will this week submit resolutions to be voted on at Oracle’s annual meeting later this year demanding greater shareholder rights and more accountability over how executive pay is set. Mr Ellison is among the best paid executives in corporate America, with an annual options package whose value has averaged $77m over the past three years. A majority of shareholders have voted against the company’s remuneration policies in the annual advisory vote for two years in a row. “Oracle is one of the most recalcitrant companies when it comes to corporate governance, with a chief executive who acts not like a CEO but like a king,” said Vineeta Anand, chief research analyst at the AFL-CIO, the federation of trades unions, which is co-ordinating the pension funds’ actions. “Shareholders have a right to demand accountability and a fiduciary responsibility to seek to make changes when they don’t get it.” The deadline for shareholders to submit resolutions to the Oracle annual meeting, which will be held in the autumn, is May 23. Oracle did not respond to a request for comment.