This Week



Nama and Treasury to resume battle

WATCH OUT for fireworks in the High Court tomorrow when property development company Treasury Holdings and the State’s bad bank return to do battle.

In January, the National Asset Management Agency finally ran out of patience with Treasury, one of its 10 biggest debtors, and decided it was time to call in the cavalry. In one of its boldest moves yet, the agency appointed receivers to enforce repayment of loans linked to Irish properties.

Treasury, owned by man about town Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, rushed straight to the High Court where it won the right to challenge Nama’s move.

Given the public mood towards (flamboyant) developers, Treasury is hardly likely to garner much sympathy for its cause, but the outcome of the High Court hearing – due to begin tomorrow – will nonetheless have far-reaching consequences for both sides.

Treasury claims Nama’s actions could threaten the survival of the group, which employs 300 people in Ireland, while for Nama the case will have implications for its modus operandi and therefore its effectiveness in recovering money for the exchequer.

It’s hardly David versus Goliath but it promises to be a landmark showdown all the same.

Challenge awaits new Permo boss

FORMER BARCLAYS banker Jeremy Masding could be forgiven for having a few “first day on the job” jitters as he takes up his new role as chief executive of Permanent TSB today. He’s got quite the challenge waiting in his in-tray. The loss-making Permo has the worst funding position of the Irish guaranteed banks, with the highest loans-to-deposits ratio.

Masding comes with a strong pedigree having worked for Barclays in roles such as director of strategy development. He also spent a year on secondment to the British cabinet in the late 1990s, an experience some believe may prove beneficial given the Government’s 99 per cent ownership in the beleaguered bank’s parent Irish Life Permanent. And according to Masding’s LinkedIn profile, he’s pretty nifty at “leading through a recession”.

The future of the Permo has been up in the air for some time, but hopefully with a new chief in the chair progress will be made and the Government will be able to meet its target of deciding the bank’s fate by the end of April.

Xi Jinping has pulling power

FRESH FROM his tête-à-tête with Obama last week, the man tipped to become one of the most influential people of the century touched down in Shannon on Saturday and will meet with Ireland’s business elite this morning.

China’s vice-president Xi Jinping (right), who is expected to become president of the People’s Republic next year, will attend the China-Ireland Trade and Investment Forum at Dublin’s Royal Hospital Kilmainham today. An audience with the second most powerful man in the world’s most populous country is proving the hottest ticket in town. Several hundred head honchos from Ireland’s top companies vied for the chance to be in the same room as China’s heir apparent – the event is now fully subscribed with a long waiting list.

Given the decline in our exports to China last year the Government is keen to seize this opportunity to strengthen relationships between the two countries.

Let’s hope that the private performance of Riverdancethat was put on for Mr Xi last night did the trick.