Seen and Heard: What the Sunday papers reported

Desmond backs vulture fund buyout, Fitch keeps close eye on Digicel, glittering achievement for Mountain Province

Desmond bank funds Profunder

The Sunday Times reports that a Latvian bank backed by Dermot Desmond has emerged as the funder behind a lender to Irish property owners who want to buy out their loans from so-called "vulture funds". Rietumu, in which Mr Desmond has a one-third stake, was identified as the financier of Profunder at recent presentations for debt providers, it reports. Profunder charges interest rates starting at 8 per cent.

Orlando homebuilding

The Sunday Times also reports that FL Partners, the investment firm run by Peter Crowley and Neil Hughes, has teamed up with a Canadian homebuilder to develop 7,000 units on a 4,000-acre site in Florida. The paper reports that FL has joined forces with Mattamy Homes to develop the site in Orlando.

Baccalaureate in Dublin

A project led by education entrepreneur Barry O'Callaghan to develop a 800-pupil fee-paying school teaching the international Baccalaureate in south Dublin has received the go-ahead from local planners, the Times reports. The plan for the school in Leopardstown includes a shuttle to collect students from Dart stations.

Digicel ratings vulnerable

The Sunday Business Post reports that the credit ratings agency Fitch has said the rating of Denis O'Brien's Caribbean telco Digicel could come under pressure if it misses earnings targets to generate enough cash to pay down debt. Fitch says it expects Digicel to make the annual $1.1 billion target in 2018, but any slippage beyond this would "immediately pressure the ratings".


Mountain Province sells first diamond

The Post also reports on the first diamond sale last month by Mountain Province Diamonds, a Canadian company backed by Mr Desmond that has a 49 per cent share in Gacho Kue, the largest new diamond mine in the world. MPD recently held its first post-production sale in Belgium, but the average $127 per carat price achieved did not reach pre-sale expectations.

Stock Exchange hit for $15bn

US mortgage agency Fannie Mae has pulled $15 billion worth of bonds from the Irish Stock Exchange over changes to European regulations, reports the Post. The rules have made it "more burdensome" for non-EU firms to list financial instruments in Europe.

Sky’s the limit for RTÉ

A report commissioned by RTÉ and released to the Sunday Independent under Freedom of Information laws says Sky and Virgin should pay the State broadcaster €30 million a year to carry its channels. Irish and British broadcasters have sought such "retransmission fees" for their free-to-air channels for several years, so far without success.

Planning hitch for Ronan hotel

Wicklow planners have knocked back a proposal by former Treasury Holdings tycoon Johnny Ronan to develop a 141-bed hotel in Enniskerry, near where the developer lives. The plan to build the sports hotel is backed by Colony Capital, but faced stiff opposition from local residents concerned about its scale.