Mortgage sale faces major hurdles and solar farm for Co Meath

Seen & Heard: Takeover talk about Lagan Group and Imagine telco seeks financing deal

Mortgage plans

Plans to offload tens of thousands of mortgages by a number of Irish banks are in jeopardy, according to the Sunday Business Post, as Fianna Fáil are set to block the sale to unregulated vulture funds.

Under Fianna Fáil proposals being led by the party's finance spokesman Michael McGrath, the funds buying the loans will have to be fully regulated by the Central Bank. The paper states the prospect of regulation could put off many vulture funds because it would reduce their ability to put the squeeze on distressed borrowers.

Meanwhile the Sunday Times reports a lack of interest in the state's mortgage-to-rent scheme has put the strategy in doubt. Only two expressions of interest have been received for the scheme, which is intended to help banks offload distressed mortgages without selling them to vulture funds. The paper also reports Permanent TSB is facing losses of up to €400 million on the planned sale of €4 billion of non-performing loans.

Lagan Group

An AIM-listed British construction materials company, Breedon Aggregates, is in talks about the possible purchase of all or significant parts of the Lagan Group, according to the Sunday Times. Lagan Group has annual sales of £350 million (€395 million).


More tolls likely

The Minister for Finance has changed his policy on the use of public private partnerships to build schools and roads. The Sunday Business Post says the move was flagged in the Ireland 2040 plan and raises the prospect of tolling on new motorways such as the M20 between Cork and Limerick.

New Liffey link

Discussions are underway about building a new River Liffey crossing to link the southern section of Dublin Port on the Poolbeg peninsula with the Port Tunnel on the northside of the city. The Sunday Independent reports the new Southern Port Access Route – likely to be a bridge rather than a tunnel – is a crucial part of Dublin Port's masterplan to 2040.

Solar farm in Meath

Businessman Ray Coyle has been given the go-ahead for a €23 million solar farm next to his Tayto amusement park in Co Meath. The Sunday Independent reports a third of the electricity generated at the farm will be used to power the amusement park while the rest will be supplied to the national grid.

Imagine investment

Telecoms firm Imagine is close to agreeing a financing deal to help develop its wireless broadband network. The Sunday Independent reports a North American infrastructure fund is a frontrunner to back the telco with $160 million (€129 million) or more in a combined debt/equity package. Imagine was one of the parties to successfully buy access to the upcoming 5G spectrum expected to be launched in Ireland in 2021 at the earliest.

British Steel investment

The owners of British Steel are making plans to invest £100 million (€113 million) into the firm's turnaround, reports the Sunday Telegraph. The move is part of plans to modernise the firm's ageing plants as it faces fresh challenges from bigger foreign firms.