Ireland

Belgian financial services giant KBC Group has recouped nearly a third of the €1.4 billion it injected into its Irish unit during the financial crisis to rescue the business as it grappled with mounting bad loan losses, The Irish Times reported. KBC Bank Ireland, which returned to profit in 2015, paid €183 million back by way of a dividend to its Brussels-based parent last year, a spokeswoman for the unit said. That is in addition to an initial €227 million handed over in 2017 – bringing the total to €410 million, or 29.3 per cent of its total rescue bill following the crash.

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The Government forecasts that it will receive a further €100 million next year from the remains of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), as the company’s liquidators start to pay interest due to unsecured creditors since early 2013, The Irish Times reported. The figure is contained in a written answer given this week by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty on foot of a parliamentary question. IBRC was set up in 2011 to take over the assets of failed lenders Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS).

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A businessman and his mother have been restricted for five years from acting as directors of any company, unless it meets certain requirements, after the High Court found they failed to keep proper books and records for their liquidated hairdressing supplies and beauty treatments business, The Irish Times reported. Warren Logan was executive director of Hairspray Wholesalers Ltd, Fashion City, Ballymount, Dublin, while his mother Dolores MacKenzie was a non-executive director. The company was voluntarily wound up on May 1st, 2013 and a liquidator, Jim Luby, was appointed.

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Ireland’s top telcos Vodafone, Virgin and Three have been touted as possible buyers of BT’s €460 million Irish unit, which the UK telecoms giant is selling off as part of a global restructuring of its business, the Irish Times reported. Australian investment company AMP Capital, which manages the State-backed Irish Infrastructure Fund, was also flagged as a possible buyer while other industry sources speculated the business may end up in private equity hands. BT has so far refused to comment on reports of the sale, which has been linked to an accounting scandal at its Italian unit.

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UK asset manager M&G Investments has emerged as key to Bank of Ireland being able to remove €375 million of problem loans from its balance sheet. The investment group, a unit of London-based life insurance giant Prudential, has bought 95 per cent of the lowest rank notes – or equity portion – of a bond transaction Bank of Ireland used this month to refinance the non-performing, but mainly restructured, buy-to-let mortgages in the bond market, The Irish Times reported.

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The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has ruled out suspending the work of Nama pending the final report of the investigation into the sale of the agency’s Northern Ireland loan portfolio, The Irish Times reported. In June 2017, the Government appointed retired High Court judge John Cooke to investigate Nama’s £1.24 billion (€1.43 billion) sale in 2014 of the Northern portfolio to US distressed-debt firm, Cerberus.

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The Republic’s financial regulator is seeking powers from Government to demand that banks hold extra capital to safeguard against hidden risks to the Republic’s economy. Central Bank of Ireland governor Philip Lane told the University College Dublin (UCD) school of economics that, alongside normal risks, the Republic’s dependence on hi-tech multinationals left its banks vulnerable to shocks to this industry, The Irish Times reported.

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Bank of Ireland may sell portfolios of further problem loans after it completes the offloading of €375 million of non-performing buy-to-let mortgages from its balance sheet through a bond market refinancing, its chief executive said on Thursday. Speaking to members of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Francesca McDonagh said “We are certainly looking at all options and that could include a sale of portfolios” of loans, as the bank seeks to lower its non-performing loans (NPLs) to about 5 per cent, The Irish Times reported.

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AIB said on Monday that it has agreed to sell a €1 billion portfolio of non-performing loans, consisting of mostly buy-to-let properties, to US private equity group Cerberus. The portfolio, which consists of 2,200 customer loans, is being sold to Everyday Finance as part of a consortium arrangement with Everyday and affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management, The Irish Times reported. The portfolio is predominantly made up of investment properties, with limited agriculture exposure, with an average balance of €500,000 across 5,000 assets.

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Settlement talks are under way in the marathon case by Sean Quinn’s five adult children denying liability for some €410 million under guarantees of loans advanced by Anglo Irish Bank to Quinn companies, The Irish Times reported. Mr Justice Garrett Simons was told of the development at the High Court on Wednesday, just after he ruled the children cannot pursue claims that their father unduly influenced them to sign the securities and “effectively dictated” to them about the lending.

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