PTSB circles Ulster Bank, Irish retail in trouble, and where it all went wrong for AstraZeneca

Business Today: The best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

A federal magistrate has ruled that the trustee in property developer Seán Dunne's long-running American bankruptcy can require Mr Dunne's ex-wife Gayle Killilea to set aside sufficient assets to pay $18.1 million. Christopher Hoffman reports.

Permanent TSB has retained investment bank Morgan Stanley to advise on a potential bid for Ulster Bank's small- to medium-sized business portfolio in the Republic, according to sources. Joe Brennan has the story.

In a follow-up to one of our most-read stories this week about Chinese citizens paying up to €1 million each in return for the right to live in the Republic under the Immigrant Investor Programme, Barry O'Halloran reports that developer Bartra urged the Government to cut the minimum payment required to €500,000 from €1 million to lure extra investment to the Republic.

Mortgage drawdowns in the fourth quarter of 2020 increased 6.6 per cent in value to its highest level in 12 years, but they dropped almost 1 per cent in volume compared to the same quarter the previous year, new figures from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland show. Laura Slattery has more details from their report, published this morning.

One of the Republic's leading law firms, Mason Hayes & Curran, recorded a 6 per cent decline in its turnover last year to €80 million due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on its activity, writes Ciarán Hancock.

Almost 500 Irish workers are to be made redundant at Arcadia, the UK retailer whose brands include Topshop and Miss Selfridge. The Mandate trade union confirmed the permanent termination of 490 staff following a meeting between its officials and the liquidator, Deloitte, on Thursday, reports Mark Hilliard.

In Caveat, Mark Paul has some ideas for how to save retail in Dublin city centre, from incentives for small independent businesses, to turnover-based rents.

John FitzGerald is also focusing on the Irish retail sector, writing about the impact of Brexit and how importing directly from the EU instead of via the UK is likely to result in less choice, less competition and higher prices for consumers here.

As Europe's medicines regulator sits down today to consider approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine, Dominic Coyle and Naomi O'Leary take a look back at a turbulent week for the company, which resulted in a row over supply with the EU, and last-minute uncertainty over the efficacy of the jab.

And in Wild Geese, engineer Shaun McGinley from Co Kerry shares his experience of working on one of world's most futuristic buildings in Dubai.

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Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny, founding editor of Irish Times Abroad, a section for Irish-connected people around the world, is Editor of the Irish Times Magazine