Seen or Heard: RBS returns to profit

UK lender to report third-quarter profits of more than £400 million

The Royal Bank of Scotland, the UK taxpayer-backed lender that owns Ulster Bank, will report third-quarter profits of more than £400 million on Friday, reversing a loss in the same period last year of £1.2 billion, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph.

The return to profit will be the first set of results overseen by new chief executive Ross McEwan, but will be overshadowed by continuing speculation about a potential break-up of the bank, the newspaper says.

It is expected that the British government will also announce on Friday the completion of a review into the possible separation of the business into a “good bank” and a “bad bank”.

Elverys restructuring
The owners of Elverys Sports are in talks with lenders and management about a corporate restructuring of the company, the Sunday Business Post reports.

The Irish sportswear retailer, which has more than 50 outlets, is negotiating with AIB, State assets agency Nama and John and James Staunton, the retail entrepreneurs behind the chain.

The negotiations are aimed at separating the personal property borrowings of the Staunton brothers from the trading retail business.

The newspaper says that a management buyout is just one of the options being considered.

Googling for foreign staff
Google was the biggest recipient of work permits for foreign nationals this year, but it secured fewer permits than in 2012, the Sunday Independent reports.

Citing Government figures, the newspaper says Google has received 131 work permits for foreign nationals to date in 2013, down from 147 last year. Facebook, meanwhile, was granted 31 work permits this year, down from 91 in 2012.

The total number of work permits granted by the Government to date this year is 2,905, about 30 per cent fewer than the total number for 2012, the report adds.

Clarion call
Deals have been done to sell two Clarion hotels in Dublin for more than €46 million, according to the Sunday Times.

Patron Capital Partners, a European private equity fund, has teamed up with hotelier Paul Fitzpatrick and is finalising a deal to buy the Clarion in Dublin's International Financial Services Centre for at least €33 million, while the Dublin Airport Authority is seeking an operator for the Clarion at the airport.

Both four-star hotels were put on the market in June by Kieran Wallace of receiver KPMG and were marketed through Savills.

The IFSC Clarion had a guide price of €30 million, and the airport hotel €10 million.