Finance Ireland may challenge Permanent TSB for Ulster Bank loans

Seen & Heard: Private equity drives pub sales, Aviva Stadium firm sells house to offset losses

 

Irish non-bank lender Finance Ireland is eyeing up parts of Ulster Bank’s business banking book, triggering a potential bidding war with Permanent TSB, according to a report in the Sunday Times. Finance Ireland, headed by former PTSB boss Billy Kane, was linked with a possible stock market flotation before the pandemic.

In a separate report in the Business Post, the State may have to provide more than €500 million to PTSB if the lender is to secure the small business loans and most of the mortgages from Ulster Bank.

Banking analysts have said PTSB could require a significant cash injection depending on how much of Ulster Bank’s remaining loans are bought and how they are funded.

The Government is the largest shareholder in Permanent TSB, owning 74 per cent. And as the bank has a value of just over €420 million, the prospect of outside investment to fund a deal is unlikely.

There is also mounting pressure to ensure that if loan books are sold to Permanent TSB, it will take on the staff and infrastructure under transfer of undertakings legislation.

Dublin pub sales

An influx of private equity money meant that the market for Dublin pubs did not collapse during 2020, as it did for pubs outside the capital, a report in the Sunday Independent said.

Thirteen Dublin pubs sold last year for a total of more than €41 million, compared to 16 transactions totalling €57 million in 2019. According to the Lisney/Morrissey’s Licensed Premises report for 2020, there was significant downward pressure on prices. It was a very different picture for pub sales elsewhere. “No notable sales were recorded in the cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Kilkenny,” the report said.

Aviva Stadium firm sells €1.3m house

The dream home for any Irish rugby or football fan, located on the doorstep of the Aviva Stadium, has been put on the market for €1.3 million, a report in the Business Post revealed.

Number 2 Lansdowne Terrace is owned by New Stadium Designated Activity Company, the operating firm and owner of the Aviva Stadium.

Martin Murphy, stadium director, confirmed to the Business Post that the property is being sold by the revenue-starved firm to “generate funds”.

Murphy said Sherry FitzGerald would handle the sale, at a guide price of €1.3 million. Five years ago, Number 1 Lansdowne Terrace sold for a price in the region of €2 million.

Over €1bn spent on data centres

Ireland is now the fastest-growing data centre market in Europe with more than €1 billion worth of projects planned, according to new industry figures, a report in the Sunday Independent stated. A survey of the 12 key countries in Europe for the location of third-party data centres found that Ireland was expanding at the fastest pace, with a growth rate of 121 per cent.

The “Data Centre Developments in Europe” report, by industry specialist Data Centre Pricing (DCP), found that total capital expenditure on upcoming projects here would be about €1.020 billion, or 12 per cent of the total planned €9 billion investment in 850,000 metres squared of facilities across the 12 countries.

Virgin parent Global weighs up Irish strategy

Liberty Global, the owner of Virgin Media, Ireland’s largest cable company, is in the final stage of an evaluation of its long-term strategy in the Irish market, according to a report in the Sunday Times. Mike Fries, Liberty Global chief executive, told analysts “it would be surprising to me if we ended 2021 without continued transformation” in the Irish and Polish markets.