Bigger reduction in Aer Lingus flights now expected for this summer

Seen & Heard: Car Trawler raising funds, Rothwell’s €3m pay, and Glenveagh apartments sale on hold

Aer Lingus aircraft parked up at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

Aer Lingus aircraft parked up at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

 

Aer Lingus expects to see a far bigger reduction in flights this summer than it had previously predicted, according to a report in the Sunday Independent.

Forecasts for June and July were revealed to union leaders by airline management at one of a number of crisis briefings. The airline had prepared a schedule for June that would see it fly 15 per cent of its normal flights, but the “realistic view is now closer to 5 per cent ”. The “best case” for July had been a less than 20 per cent schedule, but it would now be “significantly lower” than that.

Banks will not extend payment breaks beyond six months

Banks will not offer a third blanket mortgage and business loan payment break for customers who are struggling to meet repayments, the Business Post reports.

The paper cited banking industry and Central Bank sources saying that lenders would assess customers who are struggling to make payments in the coming months, with a view to putting them through normal mortgage restructuring processes over the summer. The main banks and vulture funds last week agreed to a second three-month payment holiday that will last until the end of September.

Rothwell’s ICG pay topped €3m last year

The pay of Eamonn Rothwell, the boss of ferry operator Irish Continental Group, surged by one-third last year as the company’s profits rebounded after a difficult 2018, the Business Post writes.

Mr Rothwell was paid just over €3 million in 2019, according to the company’s annual report, well above the €2.1 million he earned in the previous year.

His basic salary was €556,000, and he was awarded restricted share options of €1.5 million. Under the company’s performance share plan, Mr Rothwell was paid a further €898,000.

Buckley says life ’ruined’ by INM allegations

Leslie Buckley, the former chairman of Independent News & Media (INM), has told the High Court his life has been “ruined” by the “extensive adverse publicity” arising from allegations made by Robert Pitt, the newspaper group’s former chief executive, according to The Sunday Times.

Mr Pitt made a series of claims against Mr Buckley in protected disclosures that now form the basis of a High Court investigation into affairs at INM. Last week, Mr Buckley applied to have inspectors Seán Gillane SC and Richard Fleck stood down on the grounds of bias. The inspectors have rejected the complaint of bias.

Mr Buckley said “the relentless repetition and amplification of damaging allegations” against him had been devastating to his reputation and had a “huge effect” on his family.

Car Trawler to raise €100m

CarTrawler, one of Ireland’s largest ecommerce companies, is in advanced talks to raise €100m in equity to stabilise the business, which has been severely hit by the collapse in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Sunday Times reports.

The global aggregator of car hire deals is in talks with a number of potential investors and is confident it will conclude a deal by the end of this month. The report said the company’s current private equity owners BC Partners and Insight Venture Partners, who together purchased CarTrawler for €450 million in 2014, would exit the business as part of the planned restructuring.

Glenveagh apartments sale on hold

Plans by the quoted builder Glenveagh Properties to forward-sell a €250 million Dublin apartment development have been put on hold as uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues, according to the Sunday Times.

Glenveagh has been in exclusive talks with Round Hill Capital, an international property group, about a so-called pre-fund deal for almost 450 apartments that will be built on East Road in Dublin. The talks have been paused, however, amid the shutdown of construction sites and the complications of an effective ban on international travel for London-based Round Hill.

ESB plans ’peaker plant’ in Dublin

ESB has lodged plans for a 75 megawatt so-called “peaker plant” in Dublin that will help the electrical grid in the city cope with an increasing amount of renewable energy, the Sunday Independent reports.

The new plant at Corduff is being developed as a peaking power plant to service the “greater Dublin evening peak demand for power”.