All posts in Business News

22 Sep 2014

Bank of Ireland looks to ramp up agri sector loans

The firm said it is hiring 15 specialists in the area as it looks for more customers in the agri space. The bank claims to provide more than half of all new and increased agri lending with land acquisition, farm buildings and increased stocking requirements the main drivers of growth.

“With agriculture anticipated to be one of the best-performing sectors in the next few years and with strong growth potential and increased optimism on economic recovery, the bank expects that the demand from this important sector will continue apace,” the bank said.

BOI’s head of agri Sean Farrell said: “Our loan approvals for the first half of 2014 increased by 16pc and our approval rate is almost at 90pc. We are currently approving funding for the purchase of over 400 acres of land per week.”

19 Sep 2014

‘Economy will grow by 4.5pc this year’ – Michael Noonan

It comes as the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the economy grew by 1.5pc between April and June.

And when you compare the April and June period of this year, the second quarter, with the same period in 2013, the economy expanded 7.7pc.

“My people advising me tell me that it’s a trend that will continue. We’ll be marking up the growth figures for 2014 and 2015,” Mr Noonan said.

“It’ll settle around 4.5pc in GDP for 2014. We haven’t run the numbers yet, but it will be somewhere around there. Bit less for next year.”

19 Sep 2014

UK shares lead European stock gains following Scotland snub to independence

Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose by 0.7 percent, with Scottish-based stocks such as Royal Bank of Scotland and utility SSE among the top-performers, rising by 3.2-3.3 percent respectively.

The FTSE, which had underperformed going into the Scottish vote this week, beat a 0.5 percent rise on Germany’s DAX and on France’s CAC.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up by 0.8 percent at 1,409.36 points.

“There’s a bit of a relief rally, now that the Scottish vote is over,” said Toby Campbell-Gray, head of trading at Tavira Securities.

The British pound rose sharply after the Scottish independence vote indicated Scotland would remain in the United Kingdom, while Wall Street’s overnight gains and Alibaba Group’s red-hot initial public offering underpinned Asian shares.

19 Sep 2014

Europe the continent with the most billionaires – report

More billionaires – 775 in total – live in Europe than on any other continent in the world, with North America the second most popular continent with 609.

Most of Europe’s billionaires – 130 – live in the UK, followed closely by Germany with 123.

The report, carried out by Wealth X and UBS, says Ireland has three billionaires, but doesn’t name them.

The figure of 2,325 billionaires for the world is a new record high, and they have a combined wealth of $7.3tn (€5.7tn).

That’s higher than the entire market capitalisation of every company that makes up the Dow Jones industrial average.

Some 155 lucky individuals have made the jump to billionaire status in the last year, an increase of 7pc.

The report says there’s one billionaire for every three million people on the planet, but billionaires control 4pc of the world’s wealth.

It said that entrepreneurship is key to becoming a billionaire.

18 Sep 2014

Government ‘could create 90,000 jobs’ in green economy

A report from the Irish Corporate Leaders on Climate Change says opportunities exist in wind energy, buildings, electrification, smart grid, green financing and agriculture, but that goverment leadership is needed.

It says a reluctance to tackle the issue is based on assumptions that the cost is too high, between 0.7pc and 1.6pc of GDP.

However, it says that spending should be considered an investment in a low-carbon future, which will help create jobs.

The report, to be launched today by Tanaiste Joan Burton, says that costs are determined by how governments act and what strategies are put in place.

“The solution is often smart and targeted policy intervention, and willingness to trial and refine approaches,” according to the report, ‘Unlocking Opportunity – the case for taking climate action in Ireland’.

18 Sep 2014

Urgent talks as NAMA loses one in 10 staff this year

Since the start of this year 37 staff members have left the agency, which has a total workforce of 370, chief executive Brendan McDonagh said yesterday.

He declined to comment on whether he has been approached by private sector employers looking to lure him away from Nama.

The inability to retain staff is a “concern” at the moment.

Hypotheticallyy, if it continues to lose people at the current rate it could become a risk to its ability to deliver housing and office developments that have been requested by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, he said.

17 Sep 2014

Sweeping inquiry will probe more than 20 years of banking

The long-awaited €5m Oireachtas Banking Inquiry is to investigate the controversial bank guarantee, the troika bailout and the decision to liquidate the IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The committee is set to adopt the recommendations it received from its ad-hoc advisory group, which included economists Colm McCarthy and Megan Greene and a number of top civil servants.

The 11-person committee will meet today in private to sign off on its terms of reference.

Its proposal document, seen by the Irish Independent, outlines how a two-phase inquiry will examine events from 1992, when European banking capital requirements were changed, up until the end of 2013.

17 Sep 2014

Thousands of tech jobs at risk over tax loophole threat

A major report was ordered by world leaders amid growing concern about international schemes to avoid tax.

It throws the spotlight firmly on Ireland, where about 150,000 people are employed by multinationals, many of them leading technology or finance firms.

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) unveiled proposals to eliminate gaps in global rules that allowed firms to legally shave billions from their tax bills.

Ultimately, its recommendations are likely to spell an end to the controversial ‘Double Irish’ scheme, used to route global profits through companies here then on to tax havens.

17 Sep 2014

AIB, BoI in better shape but lending down – Standard & Poors

The rating agency revised upwards its assessment of the liquidity positions of both banks.

AIB, led by David Duffy, and Richie Boucher’s Bank of Ireland are regarded as having “adequate” liquidity and “average” ability to finance themselves on the markets, S&P said.

Banks’ improving funding position is mainly down to the reduction in lending to customers since the height of the credit bubble, and the ditching of illiquid investments, the report said.

The better assessment for AIB and Bank of Ireland in particular is down to the reduced dependence on emergency funding from the European Central Bank (ECB), the agency said.

16 Sep 2014

Lone Star picks up Irish banking licence with latest loan deal

South Africa’s Investec sold £540m (€677m) of Irish mortgages to the private equity firm, it said yesterday.

The Irish business being acquired suffered a loss of £21m last year.

The sale is certain to have been at a significant discount to the face value – or amount owed – on the loans, given the well-publicised problems within the “book” of mainly sub prime home loans.