Chief Correspondent, UK Company News, London
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Nov 17, 2010

Trade ties bind Britain closely to Ireland’s fate

LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Neighbouring Ireland remains one
of Britain’s largest export markets despite efforts to woo the
big emerging economies, a factor that could draw the British
into efforts to prop up the Irish economy.

Finance minister George Osborne has so far offered only
verbal support for Ireland, but the Financial Times reported on
Wednesday there were signs that Britain was considering
providing its own direct loans as part of an aid package.

Oct 15, 2010

Political ructions narrow Irish debt options

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland is betting it can borrow more cheaply in 2011 — but the threat of political upheaval in the first half and poor prospects for cross-party backing for austerity plans mean the window for tapping investors is small and closing.

Faced with sky-high borrowing costs, Ireland has pulled its bond auctions for the rest of the year, hoping that a credible four-year plan for tackling its budget deficit, set to be published by the government next month, will bring yields down.

Oct 1, 2010

Emigration and history keep Irish off the streets

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland is vying with Greece for the title of Europe’s problem child but Dublin has yet to be rocked by Athenian-style riots, instead demonstrating a widespread sense of resignation about the economic crisis.

Ireland’s deeply unpopular government unveiled a bill for cleaning up its banks on Thursday that could top 50 billion euros ($68 billion) and warned of more savage spending cuts as it grapples with a public debt pile set to balloon to 100,000 euros per household.

May 12, 2010

Europe shows Britain coalitions can work

LONDON (Reuters) – Recent European history teems with examples of durable coalition governments that tackled crises head on, giving Britain’s new Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron reason to hope he can prove skeptics wrong.

Italy, with a track record for short-lived administrations, is often held up as an example of the instability that can accompany coalitions bridging political divides but Finland, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands all show it can be done.

May 10, 2010
via UK News

Irish lesson for Clegg: get coalition right or face oblivion


If the Irish experience of coalition politics is anything to go by, Nick Clegg risks a lot more than unpopularity if he strikes a half-baked coalition deal with the Conservative Party. He also faces electoral oblivion should he fail to win enough concessions and power to carry his grassroots supporters with him.

Ireland’s pro-business Progressive Democrats (PDs) — relatively loyal junior coalition partners in successive administrations led by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern — imploded at the last Irish general election, winning just two seats in parliament. They subsequently disbanded altogether.

Apr 27, 2010
via UK News

The Osborne factor: Conservative victory no guarantee of market stability


A new Reuters poll of business leaders reveals just how nervous they are of political uncertainty at a time when the economy is looking so fragile. Some 90 percent of them believe a hung parliament will stall Britain’s tentative emergence from recession.

Another striking element for those of us pulling together the latest survey was how many chief executives and finance directors want Ken Clarke to be the next chancellor, making it the second Reuters poll in the space of a month to reveal an influential group with serious doubts over whether Shadow Chancellor George Osborne is fit to hold the country’s tattered public purse.

Mar 18, 2010

Greek PM fears debt cost spiral

BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece raised the stakes on Thursday in its quest for EU help to tackle its debt crisis, warning it cannot achieve promised deficit cuts if its borrowing costs remain high and might have to call in the IMF.

Market concerns it may prove impossible to construct a euro zone financial safety net for the currency area’s most heavily indebted member due to German reluctance sent the euro lower, hit Greek bank shares and raised the risk premium on Greek bonds.

Feb 18, 2010

VT sets its sights on 800p/share bid from Babcock

LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) – VT Group <VTG.L> snubbed suitor
Babcock International <BAB.L> for the second time in a week on
Thursday, setting its sights on a 800 pence a share offer
valuing the defence support firm at 1.44 billion pounds ($2.25

Shareholders and analysts said a 750 pence a share approach
would probably be enough to at least get the two companies
talking and rejected VT’s argument that the proposed tie-up
would not make strategic sense.

Feb 18, 2010

VT sets its sights on 800 pence a share from Babcock

LONDON (Reuters) – VT Group has set its sights on an offer of 800 pence a share from suitor Babcock International but analysts believe the group’s improved offer, which is worth up to 715 pence, could be sufficient to tempt VT shareholders into push for talks.

“Shareholders will take around 800 pence a share before they tell VT to talk,” a source familiar with VT’s thinking told Reuters Thursday.

Feb 15, 2010

Babcock in $1.8 billion VT bid, eclipses Mouchel move

LONDON (Reuters) – Babcock International <BAB.L> has made a 1.14 billion pound ($1.79 billion) approach to buy defense services firm VT Group <VTG.L>, potentially scuppering VT’s own bid for infrastructure services firm Mouchel <MCHL.L>.

Babcock, which operates ship-building and nuclear power programs, said on Monday that VT had rejected an initial cash and share approach worth 633.9 pence per VT share, representing a premium of 24.8 percent to its current share price.

    • About Paul

      "I took over the team covering British business news in September 2008, just as Lehman Brothers collapsed and banks plunged into crisis. Prior to that, I ran Reuters operations in Ireland, covering the Celtic Tiger boom and IRA disarmament. From 2000 to 2004, I worked in Frankfurt reporting on the European Central Bank and making daily TV appearances on the BBC World Business Report. I have also reported from Athens and Dublin during the euro zone crisis. Follow me on twitter at"
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