Conor's Feed
Mar 31, 2015

Bank of Ireland shares fall 6 percent as Fairfax sells stake

By Graham Fahy and Conor Humphries

DUBLIN (Reuters/IFR) – Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) has sold half of its 5.8 percent stake in Bank of Ireland (BKIR.I: Quote, Profile, Research) for more than triple what it paid for it in 2011, a source with knowledge of the deal said, pushing the share price down 6 percent.

The Canadian property and casualty insurer run by investor Prem Watsa on Tuesday sold 935 million shares for 36 euro cents (26 pence) apiece, the source told Thomson Reuters publication IFR.

Mar 12, 2015

Irish economy hits post-crisis high with 5 percent annual growth

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s economic growth rate surged to a post-crisis high of 4.8 percent last year, likely the fastest rate in the European Union, as data confirmed a stunning recovery from a devastating 2008 property crash.

After two years of near stagnation, higher exports and consumer spending lifted 2014 gross domestic product growth to almost four times the average 1.3 percent rate posted across the European Union after most countries had published data.

Mar 11, 2015

RSA says ex-Irish boss failed to set aside enough money to cover claims

DUBLIN, March 11 (Reuters) – Former RSA Ireland boss Philip
Smith failed to set aside enough money to cover potential
insurance claims, contributing to the British insurer having to
inject 200 million pounds ($302 million) into its Irish arm in
2013, a lawyer for RSA said on Wednesday.

RSA blamed a handful of executives at the division
for accounting irregularities that led to the group overstating
its profits in Ireland and required it to tap shareholders for
cash to plug the hole in its finances.

Mar 10, 2015

RSA bosses knew of Irish problems before scandal erupted – former executive

DUBLIN, March 10 (Reuters) – Financial problems at RSA’s
business in Ireland were known at group level before a
scandal erupted and the British insurer was forced to inject 200
million pounds ($302 million) into it, according to the former
CEO of the Irish division.

RSA blamed a handful of executives at the division for
accounting irregularities that led to the group overstating its
profits in Ireland and required it to tap shareholders for cash
to plug the hole in its finances.

Mar 6, 2015

Europe farmers fear ‘roller coaster’ as milk market deregulated

BELVIEW PORT, Ireland (Reuters) – Billions of euros and thousands of jobs will flow from the historic deregulation of Europe’s dairy sector, a string of Irish ministers promised at the opening this week of a vast new plant to make dried milk for developing markets.

But elsewhere in the European Union, many farmers are less sanguine, fearing their liberation from 30 years of milk production quotas will only expose them to a new world of competition and an increase in already sharp price volatility.

Mar 3, 2015

Aircraft leasor Avolon sees no impact on demand from low oil prices

DUBLIN, March 3 (Reuters) – Irish aircraft lessor Avolon
does not expect lower oil prices to have any impact on
aircraft demand, its chief executive said on Tuesday, adding
that most airlines were basing their long-term planning on $100
per barrel of oil.

A fall in oil prices from over $100 a barrel in June
2014 to around $60 today have reduced the potential savings from
operating more fuel-efficient new-generation aircraft but
Domhnal Slattery said airlines he was talking to were not
expecting fuel prices to remain low.

Feb 28, 2015

Ireland’s Labour Party softens opposition to Aer Lingus sale

KILLARNEY, Ireland, Feb 28 (Reuters) – A senior member of
Ireland’s junior coalition party on Saturday said opposition to
the sale of the state’s 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus
had softened in recent weeks and the party was likely to
ultimately agree to the deal.

Aer Lingus’ board last month recommended that Ireland back a
1.36 billion euro ($1.5 billion) bid for the airline from
British Airways’ owner International Consolidated Airlines
Group (IAG), but the deal has stalled due to political
opposition spearheaded by the centre-left Labour Party.

Feb 24, 2015

Aer Lingus presses Irish government on IAG takeover

DUBLIN, Feb 24 (Reuters) – The chief executive of Aer Lingus
warned that the Irish airline’s growth prospects could
be jeopardised if a takeover bid by the owner of British Airways
is rejected.

Aer Lingus’ board last month recommended a 1.36 billion
euros ($1.5 billion) offer from IAG (International Consolidated
Airlines Group), subject to the Irish state selling its
25 percent stake. However, political and trade union opposition
to the deal has been significant.

Feb 17, 2015

Irish regulator of Apple, Facebook eyes power to levy huge fines

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s new data protection watchdog expects to win the power to levy vast fines on some of the world’s biggest Internet firms under European privacy laws, despite opposition from some larger EU countries who want responsibilities shared more widely.

Helen Dixon took over late last year as Ireland’s data protection commissioner, becoming the lead regulator on privacy issues for Facebook, Apple and Yahoo! because they have declared Ireland as their main base in Europe.

Feb 12, 2015

IAG’s CEO Walsh says Aer Lingus might not survive on its own

DUBLIN (Reuters) – The chief executive of British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L: Quote, Profile, Research) told Irish politicians on Thursday that Aer Lingus (AERL.I: Quote, Profile, Research) would struggle to survive if they do not back its bid for the former flag carrier.

Dubliner Walsh, who began his career as an Aer Lingus pilot and was the airline’s chief executive before he moved to British Airways 10 years ago, was back this week campaigning to win over skeptical MPs to IAG’s 1.36 billion-euro offer, which already has the qualified backing of Aer Lingus’s board.