Thursday, October 04 08:17:26
Taoiseach Enda Kenny won back some ground in the battle to share the burden of bailing out our banks yesterday in Brussels. The Taoiseach used high level meetings in Brussels to push the case for a deal on our E64bn bank debt - despite fears Germany and other rich countries could block a deal. European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said; "I will make clear at the next European Council in October that we must stick to the commitments we made in the June European Council." The comments from the Commission President comes amid growing concerns that Ireland could be left to pick up the full E64bn cost of rescuing banks here, despite a June promise from European leaders to examine the Irish case.
Mr Kenny said the decision to allow the eurozone's permanent bailout fund to directly recapitalise banks after the creation of a euro-wide banking supervisor isn't up for interpretation. Europe's "politicians made a clear, unequivocal decision" at their June 29 summit about a direct bank recapitalisation facility for the European Stability Mechanism, Mr Kenny added after a meeting with European Commission officials in Brussels. The Irish Independent
Wind energy group Gaelectric is raising E60 million from capital markets to fund a series of proposed developments in Ireland. Gaelectric said yesterday that the company had just secured planning permission for two onshore wind-power plants in Co Derry, at Smulgedon, north east of Dungiven and Monnaboy on Loughtermore Mountain. The two would have the capacity to generate a total of 25 mega watts (MW) of electricity, the Dublin-based company added. It also emerged that Gaelectric has hired Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets to aid it in raising E60 million to fund a series of projects that it is planning across Ireland.
The company now has planning approval for plants with a total capacity of 130MW around the country, which would require a total investment in the region of E260 million. Gaelectric has already raised E80 million in equity, loan notes and other instruments from the capital markets to help pay for its development pipeline. The fund raising now under way is likely to feature a similar mix. Chief executive Brendan McGrath yesterday described the initial response as "very encouraging".
The company began generating electricity from its first wind farm at Skrine, Co Sligo, last year, and expects that another, at Carn Hill, close to Belfast, will come on stream early in 2013. Once that is functioning, Gaelectric will have completed wind farms with the capacity to generate up to 20MW of electricity. The company intends to finish work on its Irish projects by 2016. Mr McGrath indicated yesterday that the company was reaching the end of the planning stage. "We have now reached a stage of maturity in this end of our business where most of our projects are either at financial close, construction ready, or have consents in place, including firm grid offers," he said. The Irish Times
A secret recording of a meeting in Ukraine attended by Sean Quinn jnr, his cousin Peter and some Ukrainians showed a "torrid row" about money and made clear the Quinns cannot reverse a controversial US$500,000 payment over which Sean Quinn jnr was jailed, his lawyer argued yesterday. The US$500,000 payment was allegedly made to Larissa Puga, general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine (QPU), and the video made clear, whatever relations previously existed between the Quinns and Ms Puga, they were "at daggers drawn" on January 21st, 2012, when the meeting was recorded, Brian O'Moore SC said.
His client cannot be left to languish in jail indefinitely over failure to reverse that and other alleged transactions stripping assets from the Quinn family's international property group, which he could not reverse, counsel argued. Even if the inability to reverse the transaction was the result of his client's own actions, which was denied, that could not be a basis for keeping him in prison, he added.
The flaws in the jailing order were not technical, counsel argued. The effect was Sean Quinn jnr unlawfully remained in jail indefinitely until he purged his contempt by complying with 30 coercive orders to reverse other asset-stripping transactions that involved no allegation against him and that he simply could not reverse. It was not permissible to jail his client for failure to comply with 30 other orders when he was found in contempt on one issue only - the Puga payment, counsel said. The Irish Times
Activity in Ireland's services sector grew at the fastest pace in 19 months in September, bucking a euro area-wide trend of dwindling new orders and faster layoffs. The latest NCB Stockbrokers purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the Irish sector also showed a surge in export orders helped push up employment for the first time since March. The index, which is compiled from a questionnaire sent to more than 600 companies in the sector, rose to 53.9 from 51.7 the previous month. A reading above 50 denotes an expansion in activity. The growth bucked the trend across the euro area, where a series of business surveys dented hopes of a return to growth before 2013.
Markit's Eurozone Composite PMI fell to 46.1 in September from 46.3 in August. While revised upwards slightly from a preliminary reading two weeks ago, the index has been stuck below the 50 mark for all but one of the past 13 months. Order books shrank last month at the fastest pace in more than three years, while firms cut staff at the fastest pace since January 2010. Overall the surveys suggested aggressive action from the European Central Bank over the last two months has yet to lift the real economy in any meaningful sense. The Irish Times
Senior executives from Spain's second-biggest bank, BBVA, met National Asset Management Agency officials yesterday as the Spanish authorities announced further details of a "bad bank" to purge toxic loans from its lenders. Spanish bankers and government officials have been studying the Irish "bad bank" model as Madrid sets up a vehicle to acquire toxic real-estate loans and repossessed properties from the banks. These meetings are the latest in a recent series of contacts between Ireland and Spain as the Madrid government uses a similar mechanism to remove bad bank assets. The setting-up of the bad bank follows last week's results of stress tests of 14 Spanish banks, which found that seven require a further E59.3 billion for potential losses.
The bad bank and stress tests were conditions of a E100 billion euro zone bailout request for the Spanish banks sought last June. Spain's economy minister minister Luis de Guindos said yesterday that he wants banks, insurers and other investors to control 55 per cent of the bad bank. Nationalised banks, including the country's worst lender, Bankia, will be the first to move assets into the bad bank starting in December, said Mr de Guindos. The bank would acquire assets "at very conservative prices," he said. "The transfer price is linked to the real economic value of the assets and will be established through a thorough revision of their quality," said the minister. The Irish Times