Seen & Heard: State to sell 10-year bond

Move aimed at raising between €4bn and €5bn

Ireland is set to move this week to sell a new 10-year bond with the aim of raising between €4 billion and €5 billion, according to the Sunday Business Post.

The paper reports that market analysts believe the National Treasury Management Agency could borrow the money at an interest rate of less than 4 per cent.

The paper also reports that more than half of the €22.5 billion loan book of the former Anglo Irish Bank is expected to be acquired as part of the bank's liquidation, which is greater than expectations and a boost to the State's finances. Strong sales will lessen the amount of the loan book that is due to be transferred at the end of the liquidation process to Nama, the State's bad bank.

Builder buys up land banks
Irish house builder New Generation Homes has reportedly spent "over €100 million" buying up land banks around Dublin to build new houses.


The Sunday Independent quote the firm's head Greg Kavanagh as saying: "We just knew it was a sector to plough into as hard as we could. There was no competition in residential house building so we could buy up a lot very quickly."

The paper reports that the funding is believed to have been raised from US private equity firm Starwood along with Pacific Investments and relate to specific transactions and development projects.

Ex-Tullow men float oil firm
Former Tullow Oil chairman Pat Plunkett and four former directors at the oil group have started a new exploration venture due for a stock market flotation later this year.

According to reports in the Sunday Times and Sunday Independent, T5 Oil & Gas is finalising a €5 million investment to target exploration in Senegal.

The aim is to float on the AIM in London in the autumn. The papers name the other T5 founders as Gerry Sheehan, Matt O'Donoghue, Andrew Windham and Steve McTiernan. The firm is reported to be acquiring a Senegal licence held by Blackstairs Energy, founded by Mr Sheehan.

M&S festive figures drop
Marks & Spencer has suffered its third disappointing Christmas in a row according to figures due out this week.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that a major revamp of its clothing range has failed to stop sales declining and the 130-year-old retailer is set to report a drop in general merchandise like-for-like sales of at least 0.5 per cent for December, with some analysts forecasting a 1.5 per cent drop. However, there is more positive news from the company's food hall, with food sales forecast to rise 2 per cent.

The bad news will not be reserved for M&S, however. According to the paper, Tesco and J Sainsbury are both also expected to post disappointing sales. Tesco could post a drop in like-for-like sales of up to 2 per cent for the six weeks to January 4th, while rival J Sainsbury is in serious danger of suffering its first decline in like-for-like sales for eight years, the paper reports.