Jackpot for Anglo junior bondholders; anger over Irish Ferries; and Irish ‘gilet jaunes’

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

Potential post-Brexit restrictions on Irish freight passing through the UK ports like Dover (above) will be eased after Britain signed up to an international agreement covering fast-tracked transit through third countries

Potential post-Brexit restrictions on Irish freight passing through the UK ports like Dover (above) will be eased after Britain signed up to an international agreement covering fast-tracked transit through third countries

 

A group of Anglo Irish Bank junior bondholders, who resisted attempts to make them share the failed lender’s losses, are set to recoup all that they are owed. Many of the junior bonds were bought by hedge funds during the crisis at deeply discounted prices. While most subordinated, or junior, Anglo bondholders agreed in 2010 to accept 20 per cent of what they were owed, after the Government threatened to inflict bigger losses on them, a group of such creditors, owed almost €270 million, refused to cave in.

Irish road hauliers have sharply criticised Irish Ferries for the likely cancellation of its service between Rosslare and France next year, and said it will result in a“total nightmare” of increased traffic congestion in Dublin and delayed continental crossings. Irish Road Haulage Association president Verona Murphy said the move by Irish Ferries made “no commercial sense” and accused the company of abandoning hauliers who helped it survive the recession.

There was better news emanating from the UK, however, where potential post-Brexit restrictions on Irish freight passing through the UK will be eased after Britain signed up to an international agreement covering fast-tracked transit through third countries. The UK government said yesterday it would remain in the long-standing Common Transit Convention following its exit from the EU on March 2019 after successfully negotiating membership as a non-EU member. Its membership will simplify cross-border trade for Irish businesses using the UK “landbridge” to access continental Europe.

In her London Briefing, Fiona Walsh reports on yet another acrimonious day in Brexit politics, as emergency no-deal plans are starting to be prepared. “The government announcement – delivered by a spokesman via lobby journalists – was obviously designed to reassure, but, like the promise of 3,500 troops on standby, had a real air of alarm about it, as “citizens” were urged to prepare themselves and promised “more detailed advice” in the coming weeks.”

Back home, the chief executive of Tourism Ireland says the State body will have to rewrite its plans for 2019 if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal. He said its projections for 2019, including 6 per cent growth to €6.5 billion of revenues from overseas visitors, is predicated on a Brexit deal being done.

Meanwhile Ireland’s largest hotel group Dalata has yet to see a negative impact from Brexit, it said on Tuesday, reaffirming its full-year earnings guidance in a trading update.

Away from Brexit and it’s back to banking. Davy analysts estimate Irish banks, which are charging well above the euro-zone area average on standard variable mortgages, face having to hold almost two-and-a-half times as much expensive capital against home loans as their European peers.

Finally, in her Money Matters column today, Fiona Reddan asks if Ireland is ready for a ‘gilet jaune’ movement of its own? “Our water charge protests shared some similarities with French protesters but lower tax burden means an Irish ‘veist buí’ movement is less likely.