Avant trebles Irish loan book to become top non-bank mortgage lender

Seen & heard: Aer Lingus workers seek pay hike; Pfizer plans €1bn Dublin factory; Mike Ashley swoops on Asos; Jeremy Hunt looks to higher taxes in UK

Lender Avant Money trebled the size of its Irish loan book in the first nine months of the year, according to the Sunday Times. The Spanish lender grew its business by €1.4 billion to €2.1 billion to take a 10 per cent share of the Republic’s new mortgage market. The newspaper says that figures from Leitrim-based Avant’s Spanish parent show that €1.5 billion of its loan book now relates mortgages, which marks a staggering 480 per cent increase in that division and leaves the company as the “nation’s leading non-bank mortgage lender”.

Consumer lending also grew with lending in that division hitting €750 million. European central bankers are likely to raise interest rates by a further 0.75 per cent this week in an effort to curb inflation.

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus ground staff are seeking substantial no-strings attached pay hikes in a new round of wage talks with the airline, the Sunday Independent reports. The demands come at a time when Aer Lingus is reported to be struggling to hire and keep ground-handling staff at Dublin Airport. “The positive financial outlook of the company and the sharp increase in the cost of living for our members merits a substantial increase in pay,” trade union Siptu told Aer Lingus ground handlers in a memo detailing a meeting with management.

Pfizer plant

The Business Post reports that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer plans to invest more than €1 billion in a state-of-the-art biotech manufacturing plant in Grange Castle, Co Dublin. The newspaper maintains that the multinational’s plans are at an advanced stage. Building could start in the second quarter of next year and be completed by the end of 2026. The US group already employs more than 4,000 people in the Republic.


Fraser and Asos

In Britain, billionaire Mike Ashley’s Fraser Group has cashed in on a slump in Asos’s shares by buying a 5 per cent stake in the online fashion store, the Sunday Telegraph says. Frazer Group told Asos of its stakebuilding late on Friday, says the newspaper. Asos’s value has collapsed from more than £5 billion in March last year, when it was riding the end of the pandemic online shopping boom, to about £500 million on Friday.

UK tax

The Telegraph has also reported that British finance minister Jeremy Hunt is considering up to £20 billion (€23 billion) of tax rises in a budget due to be set out on Monday, October 31st. The report, which did not cite sources, said Mr Hunt could seek to reform capital gains rules and ditch a two-year government-funded removal of green levies from energy bills.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas