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Roundup-75K van drivers need insurance

Friday, April 18 08:21:26

Up to 75,000 van and car drivers are being advised to seek alternative insurance cover following the collapse of Dublin-based Setanta Insurance. The insurance firm, which was licensed by the Maltese Financial Services Authority, had been in the process of winding up its business here since January. However, at an extraordinary general meeting yesterday, shareholders were told a solvent run-off of the business was no longer possible and a decision was made to immediately dissolve the business.

The company, which has offices in Blanchardstown, had been selling car and van insurance in the Republic since 2007. The Central Bank said today it had been notified by the financial authorities in Malta - where the insurer is incorporated - that its shareholders had resolved to wind up the company.

The process is to be overseen by the Maltese Financial Services Authority. The bank said, however, it will require Setanta to write to all Irish policyholders to advise them of the situation and its implications for them. The Irish Times

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Noel Smyth's Fitzwilliam is taking on Ires Reit and a syndicate comprising Kennedy Wilson, Deutsche Bank and Oak Tree Capital in the final leg of a race to acquire a portfolio of 680 bought-to-let residential properties from Danske Bank valued at some E100 million. The Copenhagen-based institution put the assets, collectively dubbed Project Circle, on the block last month as part of its proposed sell-off of the personal and small business banking activities that it is winding up in the Republic.

A short-list of bidders for the portfolio emerged yesterday. It included Fitzwilliam Real Estate Capital, which is controlled by solicitor and property player Noel Smyth.

The real estate business is a sister company of Fitzwilliam Finance Partners, which last year joined forces with Selfridges to buy 50 per cent of Arnotts store in Dublin through a purchase of E140 million worth of loans to the retailer from Ulster Bank. The Irish Times

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The number and value of buyouts involving Irish companies have risen significantly this year, reflecting what industry sources said was a strengthening of recovery in Ireland and in the global economy. According to the latest Merger and Acquisitions Tracker Survey by Investec, the value of deals conducted in the first quarter of 2014 rose to E6.1 billion, compared with E2.3 billion for the equivalent period last year.

The survey found 59 deals were recorded during the quarter, which represents an increase of 9.3 per cent on the 54 deals recorded during each of quarters one and four in 2013. There were a number of high-profile transactions during the quarter, most notably the acquisition of Bord Gais Energy by Centrica for E1.1 billion.

This was the most significant sale of a semi-State corporate asset by the State since the privatisation of Aer Lingus in 2005, Investec said. The Irish Times

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Fear that Swiss voters could use their unique electoral power to negatively impact business has prompted the $14bn (E10bn) global oil and gas services giant Weatherford International to shift its HQ to Ireland. It joins other firms - such as global filtration firm Pentair, which has a $16bn (E11.5bn) market capitalisation - that are ditching Switzerland for Ireland.

Weatherford and Pentair have told their shareholders of concerns that Swiss voters could force the introduction of new laws that could damage business.

If Swiss citizens gather sufficient signatures to back a proposed change to the law, they can force the government to put those proposals to a referendum. The Irish Independent