Friday, July 27 08:20:18
Certain professionals are "feasting on the carcasses" of insolvent and semisolvent companies at a time when many sectors are "taking a hit" and many people have had pay reductions, a High Court judge has said. Mr Justice Brian McGovern expressed "general concerns" about some professionals appearing to be getting good pickings from troubled sectors when other people who are working just as hard are getting less.
He made the comments after approving "a very large figure" of E509,543 fees, plus outlay and VAT making a total of E647,382, sought for some five months' work by Luke Charleton of Ernst Young, the chartered accountant appointed as special manager to Newbridge Credit Union on January 13th last. Some E70,977 legal fees were also approved. The fees cover the period January 13th to June 14th, 2012. As Mr Charleton's appointment was previously extended for another six months to the end of this year, a separate application for fees for that period will be made later.
The fees will be paid by the 37,000 members of the credit union whose representatives said yesterday they could not consent to such a large sum but were not opposing it. The fees are based on hourly rates descending from E375 an hour at partner level. The level of fees, the court heard, was agreed to by the Central Bank whose counsel, Brian Kennedy, described Mr Charleton's work as necessary, proportionate and of a high professional standard. Mr Kennedy also noted the bank had agreed to rates last January that were higher than sought now but those higher rates had been cut in February by the High Court. Rossa Fanning, for Mr Charleton, said his client's work was "very significant, complex and novel" and he was the first special manager appointed under new legislation entitling the Central Bank to make such appointments when necessary. The Irish Times
The National Asset Management Agency expects to make profits of E1 billion a year from 2012 - after allowing for bad debts - and to see a sharp reduction in loan impairments, the chief executive of the agency, Brendan McDonagh, said. Mr McDonagh said in an interview with The Irish Times that the loans agency will have to take only "incremental" impairments on specific loans after writing down the value of its loans by E2.75 billion since Nama was set up in 2009.
He ruled out any requirement for State support, saying there was E1.5 billion of subordinated debt issued to the banks that it did not have to repay if it was unable to recover what it paid for the loans. "We are probably going to be producing pre-impairment profits of well over E1 billion a year, so we would believe at this stage - with a cumulative impairment taken of E2.75 billion, absent anything that has taken place in the market - we are probably reasonably provided for at this stage," Mr McDonagh said.
Nama, which was set up to purge the banks of their most toxic assets, acquired property loans with a face value of E74 billion from five lenders for E32 billion raised from State-backed bonds. The agency has been contacted by the Spanish authorities for advice, said Mr McDonagh, as Madrid plans to resolve toxic loans in the country's banking system. Nama may put a further 250 residential properties up for sale in September under the deferred mortgage payment initiative aimed at encouraging sales by protecting buyers from negative equity following the pilot scheme. The Irish Times
Whoever is being lined up to replace Paul Donovan as Eircom's chief executive must have groaned after BSkyB's announcement yesterday that it will begin offering broadband and voice services here in time for Christmas. This is a significant development. Sky has deep pockets and leaves most of its competitors in the shade when it comes to consumer marketing. It also happens to have 693,000 satellite television subscribers, according to the latest figures from research group Nielsen. This is a good starting point from which to launch a triple-play offering of TV, broadband and phone services here.
Sky is no novice, having entered the UK telecoms market in 2006. It has been mulling a similar move in Ireland for years but was always put off by what it considered to be the high costs of wholesaling and the fancy price tags that telco owners wanted for their businesses during the property bubble. The Irish boom has turned to bust and the competitive landscape has changed to the extent that Sky is now able to agree a wholesaling deal with BT Ireland. It has yet to show its hand on pricing but we can assume it will be competitive.
Sky's Irish pay-TV rival UPC has enjoyed considerable success by expanding into broadband and voice. It invested about E700 million in upgrading its network at a time when Eircom was paralysed by its debt mountain. UPC now has 273,000 broadband and 187,000 phone subscribers, largely mined from its TV subscribers. The Irish Times
Three men plan to create over 20 jobs by cornering the market for hair, nail and other beauty treatments. Trinity business graduates Cormac McNamara, Ronan Ryan and their pal Ryan Estes have taken on the more traditionally female world of pampering with online booking company, Salonaddict. Their company is just one of over 53 start-ups that hope to create up to 911 high tech jobs over three years.
It allows people to compare prices and book appointments for beauty treatments. Other start-up companies that announced they would be recruiting include Easy Dry in Dundalk, which produces biodegradable paper towels. The Irish Independent
Last night's successful bond deal shows investors believe this country is poised for recovery. Ireland has done all that's been demanded under the bailout. Now Europe must deliver, and quickly, on its side of the bargain. Their failure now risks spooking confidence of the markets, and worse of wasting the sacrifices of the Irish people. First things first. The E5.3bn deal done yesterday means that Ireland is unequivocally "back in the markets". Borrowing billions for up to eight years from global investors that don't owe this country a second thought, never mind a loan -- is about a clear a signal as you can get. It's a huge success for the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), and for Finance Minister Michael Noonan.
The deal was executed with real finesse, taking advantage of a rare lull in the recent spate of market panics. The NTMA fixed an interest rate it was willing to pay and invited investors to fill their boots. The Irish Independent