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Mar 5, 2014

Grafton sees sustained Irish recovery as profits jump

DUBLIN, March 5 (Reuters) – Building supplies group Grafton
said renewed activity in Irish construction appeared
to be sufficient to support a sustained recovery, after it
reported a 27 percent rise in operating profit last year.

Grafton, which has cut its workforce by a quarter and more
than halved its net debt over the past five years, responded to
the crisis in Ireland by building up its business in Britain,
where it is now the third largest building supplies merchant.

Mar 5, 2014

Allied Irish says on track to become ‘investable’ bank

DUBLIN, March 5 (Reuters) – State-owned Allied Irish Banks
(AIB) more than halved its full-year loss in 2013 and
returned to an operating profit as it set new medium-term goals
on Wednesday ahead of its potential reprivatisation next year.

It cost taxpayers more than 20 billion euros to bail out
AIB, the most given to any lender that survived Ireland’s debt
crisis. The bank has shut branches and is cutting almost a fifth
of its staff in an effort to return to profit during this year.

Mar 5, 2014

Allied Irish Banks returns to operating profit

DUBLIN, March 5 (Reuters) – State-owned Allied Irish Banks
(AIB) more than halved its full-year loss in 2013 and
returned to an operating profit as margins improved and cost
cuts took hold.

It cost taxpayers more than 20 billion euros to bail out
AIB, the most given to any lender that survived Ireland’s debt
crisis. The bank has shut branches and is cutting almost a fifth
of its staff as it tries to return to profit by the end of the
year.

Mar 4, 2014

Paddy Power profits hit by “exceptional” sports results

DUBLIN, March 4 (Reuters) – Paddy Power’s profit
growth slowed as expected in 2013 after a run of unfavourable
sports results amid intense competition in UK online betting
that the bookmaker believes will lead to further consolidation.

Paddy Power, used to posting stellar top-line profit growth,
had flagged in November that an “exceptional” run of
punter-friendly results would see full year operating profit
come in about 11 million euros ($15 million) lower than
expected.

Mar 4, 2014

Wilbur Ross and Fairfax to sell six percent of Bank of Ireland

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Two of Bank of Ireland’s (BKIR.I: Quote, Profile, Research) largest shareholders, Wilbur Ross and Fairfax Financial (FFH.TO: Quote, Profile, Research), began selling a combined 6.4 percent stake in the country’s largest lender on Tuesday, the placing’s bookrunner Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) said.

Billionaire investor Ross and Fairfax boss Prem Watsa were among a group of North American investors who kept the bank out of state hands in 2011 when they bought a 35 percent stake only months after Ireland signed up to an EU/IMF bailout.

Mar 4, 2014

Wilbur Ross and Fairfax to sell 6 pct of Bank of Ireland

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Two of Bank of Ireland’s (BKIR.I: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) largest shareholders, Wilbur Ross and Fairfax Financial (FFH.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), began selling a combined 6.4 percent stake in the country’s largest lender on Tuesday, the placing’s bookrunner Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said.

Billionaire investor Ross and Fairfax boss Prem Watsa were among a group of North American investors who kept the bank out of state hands in 2011 when they bought a 35 percent stake only months after Ireland signed up to an EU/IMF bailout.

Mar 3, 2014

Bank of Ireland back in profit as economy improves

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Bank of Ireland has become the country’s first lender to return to profit since the start of Ireland’s financial crisis and said it is confident of sustained economic recovery.

The country’s only lender to escape nationalisation said on Monday that it returned to profit in the first two months of the year and had cut its full-year loss by almost two thirds in 2013 thanks to a fall in the number of homeowners in arrears and improved margins.

Mar 3, 2014

Bank of Ireland back in profit for first 2 mths of 2014

DUBLIN, March 3 (Reuters) – Bank of Ireland said it
had returned to profitability in the first two months of the
year, the first Irish lender to do so since the country’s
financial crisis began.

The country’s only lender to escape nationalisation, Bank of
Ireland also said it had cut its full-year loss by almost two
thirds in 2013 on a fall in the number of homeowners in arrears
and improved margins.

Mar 1, 2014

Ireland eyes new big player to boost banking sector

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland would like a “significant” new bank with a big balance sheet to enter its lending market this year to drive competition in the diminished sector, finance minister Michael Noonan said on Saturday.

Ireland’s banking crisis, which helped push the country into an European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout that it completed last year, led to the closure or merger of half of the country’s domestic banks and the exit of a slew of foreign lenders.

Feb 28, 2014

Ireland’s bad bank ratchets up property sales

DUBLIN, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Ireland’s state-run “bad bank”
will speed up the sale of its vast property holdings this year
to cash in on a surge in demand, and it is becoming more
confident of returning a profit, its chairman said on Friday.

The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) is one of the
world’s largest property groups and purged Irish banks of risky
loans worth 74 billion euros ($101 billion) following a crash
that pushed the country into a bailout three years ago.