Ireland

Airline shares surged in Europe after Ryanair Holdings Plc said it expects to post a bigger-than-expected full-year profit following a spike in lucrative last-minute bookings over the Christmas and New Year holiday, Bloomberg News reported. Europe’s biggest discount airline now anticipates earnings for the 12 months through March of between 950 million euros ($1.06 billion) and 1.05 billion euros, and most likely in the middle of that range, according to a statement on Friday. It had previously forecast 800 million euros to 900 million euros.

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Taoiseach Leo Vardakar has made it clear the Football Association of Ireland will not be handed a blank cheque to pay for its "mistakes of the past,” the Irish Post reported. The crisis-hit organisation had requested an €18m bail-out earlier this month to stave of the threat of insolvency. Minister for Sport Shane Ross said at the time the FAI – who face debts of up to €62 million euro – will not receive state funding. And the Taoiseach confirmed that is the approach his government still intend to take.

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Irish households have reduced their debt by a third since the crash, figures from the Central Bank show. After a nearly a decade of belt-tightening, household debt in the Republic stood at €135.3 billion, or €27,489 per person, in the second quarter of 2019, The Irish Times reported. While this was still one of the highest debt levels in Europe, it was 33 per cent, or €67.6 billion, lower than the boom-time peak of €203 billion recorded in the third quarter of 2008 just as the financial crisis hit.

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Pre-tax losses at a holding company for Michael JF Wright’s hospitality group last year increased almost threefold to €1.2 million, The Irish Times reported. However, the group is in expansion mode and has plans to open St Andrew’s Food Hall at Suffolk Street next year. Accounts lodged by The Wright Bar Group Ltd show that pre-tax losses increased from €419,809 to €1.2 million, due mainly to an exceptional cost. The group recorded the increase in losses as revenues declined marginally from €16.87 million to €16.31 million in the 12 months to the end of June last year.

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Irish banking stocks fell in Dublin on Tuesday as the Bank of England ordered lenders with businesses in the UK hold additional capital to absorb losses in the event of a sudden downturn, The Irish Times reported. Sentiment towards the sector was further dented as UK prime minister Boris Johnson put the threat of a no-deal Brexit back on the table as he outlined plans to legislate to ensure the transition phase of the European Union withdrawal will not extend beyond the end of 2020.

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Debt ratings agency Moody’s has lowered its outlook on the Irish banking system to stable from positive as lenders’ profits are set to decline amid ongoing ultra-low central bank interest rates, the Irish Times reported. While Irish lenders’ levels of non-performing loans (NPLs) have come down significantly in recent years, they remain “sizeable”, it said.
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The owners of Fishshack and Ouzos restaurants will sell some of its properties as part of a rescue deal, the Irish Times reported. The chain’s owner, PBR Restaurants, sought High Court protection from its creditors in August after running into financial difficulty. PBR owed €700,000 to suppliers and other unsecured creditors. As part of a rescued deal that the court approved on Monday, the company will sell restaurants in Blackrock and Dalkey in Dublin and focus on the Fishshack business.The plan also involves a new investor providing cash for the chain.

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KBC Group Ireland has set €14 million aside to cover an expected Central Bank fine for its involvement in the tracker mortgage scandal going back more than a decade, The Irish Times reported. The figure was part of a wider €18 million tracker-related provision that the Belgian-owned bank booked in the third quarter of the year, it said on Thursday. The charge drove a reduction in the bank’s net profit for the period to €4.4 million from €33.6 million for the corresponding three months in 2018. The wider KBC Group’s profit dipped to €612 million from €701 million.

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A proposed personal insolvency arrangement for retired High Court taxing master James Flynn, who has debts of just over €5 million, does not meet a condition necessary for the court to consider whether or not to approve it, a High Court judge has ruled, The Irish Times reported. Mr Justice Denis McDonald was ruling on a preliminary issue concerning an application by Mr Flynn’s personal insolvency practitioner (PIP) after his insolvency arrangement failed to win the support of a majority of his creditors.

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