ICC warns of rises ahead in long term fixed rates


BUSINESSES have been advised to lock into long term fixed interest rates borrowing, before those rates become more expensive.

The advice comes from ICC Bank which points out that long term rates have tightened in recent weeks, following some signs of US economic revival and a possible end to US rate reductions.

ICC is also forecasting a further small fall in short term interest rates in Ireland, if the German authorities lower their rates.

However, long term interest rates could rise by between 0.5 per cent and 0.75 per cent by the end of the year, ICC's senior gilt dealer, Mr Dermot Dolan, said yesterday. He was speaking after ICC's annual general meeting in Dublin.

The outgoing chairman, Mr Ted MacRedmond, said ICC remained the most significant provider of risk capital for business in the State and now had more than £100 million either invested or available for investment in venture capital or BES projects.

The sparsely attended meeting heard a statement read on behalf of the Minister for Finance, Mr Quinn, who said he recognised that the question of restructuring ICC had been under consideration for some time. He said the matter was still being examined. The statement said Mr Quinn was not prepared to rush it to finality given the vital importance and great complexity of what is at issue".

Mr MacRedmond said yesterday that the bank would continue to concentrate on its business irrespective of what decision the main shareholder (the Government) made.

Mr MacRedmond, whose term of office has now ended, will be replaced by Mr Phil Flynn, the general secretary of the IMPACT trade union.

One shareholder told yesterday's meeting that shareholders should be given more information and background on those appointed to the ICC board.

The shareholder also said that the ICC board should make the appointments and not the, Minister for Finance. We still have a lot of growing up to do in this country," he said.

Two other directors were elected to the board. They are Mr Sean Kelly, an information technology training consultant, previously employed as personnel officer in Telecom Eireann and Ms Anne Connolly, a strategic and management consultant and former director of the Well Woman Centre.

The ICC managing director, Mr Michael Quinn, said the bank had already invested over £3 million in venture capital this year and expected to commit £10 million in new investment by the end of 1996, well up on last year's figures.

Mr Quinn said it was unlikely ICC would launch a second Business Expansion Scheme (BES) fund.