Denis O’Brien could lose 90% of company, unclaimed Covid vouchers and why Iceland trumps Ireland

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Stay up to date with all our business news: sign up to our Business Today daily email news digest.

Businessman Denis O’Brien may end up losing as much as 90 per cent of his heavily-indebted Digicel telecoms group to bond creditors as they move to seize control of the business in return for writing off $1.8 billion (€1.7 billion) of its borrowings, according to sources. Digicel said early on Wednesday that it had reached agreement in principle with investors in about half of its $4.55 billion of bonds and corporate loans on a proposal to cut its debt pile in exchange for creditors taking a stake in the group. Sources said that Mr O’Brien, who owns 99.9 per cent of the group he founded in 2001, is on track to ultimately end up with a stake between 10 per cent and 20 per cent. Joe Brennan has the details.

Karlin Lillington, in her weekly column, writes about why Iceland will always trump Ireland when it comes to data centres.

There was a time when the arc of the career of businessman Denis O’Brien was racing skywards, but for some time now it has been facing in the wrong direction, writes Colm Keena in his profile of the Digicel founder.


Aer Lingus customers are among those who have yet to claim hundreds of millions of euro worth of vouchers given to passengers as compensation for flights cancelled when Covid-19 struck three years ago. Barry O’Halloran reports

The deal is done between the UK and the EU to solve problems with the Northern Ireland protocol, and should it become operational, that deal means Northern Ireland will remain within the EU single market, with the added benefit of access to the UK market. So what will that mean for its economy – and could it have knock-on effects in the Republic?

On our Inside Business podcast Ciarán Hancock and Cliff Taylor are joined by Mark O’Connell, founder of Belfast-based consultancy OCO Global and Stephen Kelly, CEO of Manufacturing Northern Ireland to talk about the deal. Plus: Businessman Denis O’Brien is on track to cede control of Digicel under a plan agreed with a group of bond creditors to swap $1.8 billion (€1.7 billion) of the heavily-indebted group’s borrowings for an equity stake in the business, reports Joe Brennan.

We are all guilty of it. Open a drawer and you are bound to stumble across an old smartphone or a forgotten storage drive. Households are sitting on a mountain of potential e-waste and we are adding to it a little more every week. The pace of tech advances may have slowed and the replacement cycles are lengthening, but we all have old devices hanging around the house or office that could be better used. So what should you do with all those devices that are cluttering up your home? Ciara O’Brien has a few suggestions.

With more than 25 years in the occupational pensions business behind him, Karl O Meara has seen how much people struggle to stay on top of their pensions. This prompted him to develop Pensions Vault, an interactive dashboard that allows policyholders to keep all their pensions-related documentation together in one place, writes Olive Keogh.

Samsung has been doing vacuum cleaners for some time but the new Bespoke Jet cleaners certainly take the competition up a notch, writes Ciara O’Brien. The cordless cleaner has Dyson firmly in its sights, with its digital inverter technology – which also pops up in its fridges, by the way – and a series of tools that will cover every possible cleaning scenario. It has some decent suction, coping with most of the pet hair and general debris that was scattered in its path.

There won’t be a metaverse used by millions until it has experiences millions find worthwhile, find Tim Bradshaw in his conversation with science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson.