Equity pressure on Denis O’Brien, Wrightbus debts, BofI’s systems failure

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

Denis O’Brien: expected to come under pressure from bondholders at Digicel.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Denis O’Brien: expected to come under pressure from bondholders at Digicel. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill


Businessman Denis O’Brien, who extracted at least $1.9 billion (€1.7 billion) of dividends from Digicel between 2007 and 2014, is expected to face demands from bondholders to put equity into the business under any debt restructuring next year, reports Joe Brennan in our lead story today.

The telecoms group is also the subject of our Business Agenda, in which Joe takes an in-depth look at the dynamics driving its financial performance.

Bank of Ireland’s online systems were back up and running last night after a second day of IT glitches. Barry O’Halloran reports.

Wrightbus, the Ballymena bus builder, owed Bank of Ireland £38.1 million (€44.7 million) when it collapsed, and administrators have warned that the bank will not be repaid “in full”. Francess McDonnell has the story.

The number of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the Republic fell 29 per cent in the July-September period after a record-breaking second quarter, according to the latest M&A study from Investec Corporate Finance. Laura Slattery has the details.

Mark Paul reports that Niall McGarry, the founder and majority shareholder of digital publisher Maximum Media, which operates in Ireland and Britain, has stepped away from executive involvement in the Irish business. Mr McGarry said he will focus instead on the company’s UK operations.

Ryanair’s legal action to stop its chief operating officer, Peter Bellew, from joining rival Easyjet in January will go ahead next week. Barry O’Halloran and Aodhan O Faolain have details of the case.

In his Caveat column, Mark Paul looks at the issue of gender workplace equality, where he says debate has matured to an extent where it is no longer the reserve of those who campaign on the issue. He reflects on a recent event that focused on the area, at which the speakers were drawn from a much wider pool than might have been seen a few years ago.

John FitzGerald focuses on immigrants this week, specifically on how their children and grandchildren perform in income terms. In the US, he writes, second-generation immigrants consistently perform better than the children of comparable Americans. Irish data on this is still hard to find, but Prof FitzGerald argues that our challenge is to replicate the US story.

Newly crowned EY Entrepreneur of the Year Richard Kennedy of Devenish is this week’s Business Interview. Mr Kennedy tells Peter Hamilton about his childhood on the sidelines of a Co Sligo mart, and explains why he thinks farming and food should offer a solution to climate change.

New parents can often be at sea when it comes to the family-friendly (or otherwise) policies within their workplace, but many employers are trying to do much better on this than in the past. One business leader tells Olive Keogh in our Work section about the importance of family-friendly messages coming from the top of an organisation.

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