FUTURE OF KBC IRELAND TO BE DECIDED LATER THIS YEAR – The Irish Times reports that a decision on the future of KBC Bank Ireland is likely to be made public in late 2016, according to its chief executive Wim Verbraeken.

Mr Verbraeken was speaking after the publication of the bank’s full year results for 2015, which showed the Irish subsidiary of the Belgian financial services group recorded an after-tax profit of €75 million.

The paper says this return to the black came a year ahead of schedule and effectively triggers a strategic review of the business by its parent company.

In a presentation to investors yesterday, KBC said it would look at “all available options” for the Irish bank, including organically growing a profitable retail bank, building a captive bank insurance group, or selling the bank.


SPORTS AGENCY’S 2013 LOSSES TOP €250,000 – The sports management firm led by former Anglo Irish Bank director Fintan Drury lost more than €250,000 in 2013, according to the Irish Independent.

Accounts recently filed for Platinum One for the year show a loss of €257,962.

Platinum One has brought Real Madrid to Ireland in the past while Mr Drury served as a former non-executive director of Anglo and last year gave evidence to the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry.

A note attached to the company’s 2013 accounts shows that it had a loan of €244,192 IBRC at the end of the year.


SHORTER BANKRUPTCY TERM SEES RISE IN APPLICATIONS – The Irish Examiner reports that a large number of people in serious financial difficulty likely waited for changes to the country’s bankruptcy laws so as to take advantage of the newly introduced shorter term, according to a bankruptcy specialist.

The paper quotes Garry Clarke of legal firm bankruptcysolicitor.ie as saying the number of people exploring bankruptcy soared since the reduction in the term to one year from the previous three-year regime, with twice as many enquiries seen in January compared to the previous month.

“The number of calls to our offices from people seeking bankruptcy assessment has doubled in January and that trend is continuing.

"The sharp increase in enquiries over declaring bankruptcy is a direct result of the long overdue law changes enacted in December,” Mr Clarke told the Examiner.


BRITISH ‘JOBS MIRCALE’ COMES AT A PRICE - Britain’s productivity has fallen even further behind its peers, resulting in a record shortfall, the Financial Times reports.

Official figures highlight the fact that the UK’s "jobs miracle" has come at the cost of dire productivity and weak wage growth.

Output per hour — a common measure of productivity — was 18% lower than the average in the rest of the G7 group of leading economies in 2014, the Office for National Statistics said.

This is the widest gap since comparable records began in 1991.