IRISH LIFE SOLD FOR €1.3 BILLION TO GOVERNMENT - The cost to the State of the banks' recapitalisation payouts is to rise to €63.7 billion after the High Court ruled yesterday that Irish Life and Permanent was to sell its Irish Life business to the government for €1.3 billion. Meanwhile, results are due out this morning from Anglo Irish Bank, now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

Justin Urquhart Stewart, of Seven Investment Management in London, says that even though the tab for the banks just keeps getting bigger, this latest acqusition has some prospect of getting some money back for the Irish taxpayer as the company has real tangible value. He says the fact that the business could not be sold on the open market is a sign of a real lack of confidence in any financial services company, but says that a more positive end to the tale may be in sight.

On Eircom, the analyst says the company's story since privisation has been ''remarkable'' but that actual progress will be made though an examinership process. He says the company has such a high level of debt that it is necessary to perform surgery on it before it can become successful again. He says examinership will be painful for ultimately positive for the company.