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Finance Magazine - April 2004 Issue

Euro rates forecast to hold steady for 2004
No rise predicted for the Eurozone, but the cycle is set to turn in UK and US, a panel of leading economists predict.
Benchmark bond issue by NTMA
The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) sold €600 million of its 4.5 p.c. treasury bond 2020 at auction on April 15th at a yield of 4.658 p.c.
Deal of the Year 2004: First Active deal wins award
The Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) €887 million acquisition of financial institution First Active, has been voted the FINANCE ‘Deal of the Year’ 2004 by Ireland’s leading corporates in this, the third edition of the survey. One respondent to the survey said that they voted for the deal due its strategic fit with Ulster Bank, the structure and price of the deal, as well as the speed with which it was executed. Another voted for it because, ‘it demonstrated the ability of an effective management team to execute a transaction that mad sound strategic logic and added shareholder value’.
Leveraging on the Dublin franchise
Using the Dublin franchise to grow your company was the main topic of the fifth annual Finance Dublin conference, and case studies from recent success stories such as Merrill Lynch and Hypo Real Estate International identified how they expanded their Dublin operations.
Huge increase in M&A activity in Q1
Deals worth more than €2 billion were completed during the first quarter of 2004, representing a six-fold increase on the same quarter in 2003.
Finance Act changes to help Ireland face new threat
Ireland remains a key location for foreign direct investment, but is facing a strong threat from the EU accession countries and low-cost Asian locations. However, changes in the Finance Act 2004, should make Ireland a very attractive location for regional headquarters and holding companies when looked at it in conjunction with other features of the Irish tax regime writes Jim Dennehy.
No change predicted until 2005
ABN AMRO sells LeasePlan
LeasePlan Corporation, the operational multi-brand car leasing and fleet management service company, is being sold by ABN AMRO to a consortium led by Volkswagen Group for E2.13 billion.
Retail assets increase by 17p.c. amongst IAIM members
Members of the Irish Association of Investment Management (IAIM) managed €19 billion of assets in retail products at the end of December 2003, an increase of 17 per cent on the December 2002 level, according to the association’s latest survey on trends in the retail market.
New CFO for Waterford Wedgewood
After ten years as chief financial officer of luxury goods company Waterford Wedgewood plc, Richard Barnes is to step down.
New diploma on accounting standards launched
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) has created a new diploma course for chartered accountants on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
New head at Merrion Corporate Finance
Dan Ennis has been appointed head of corporate finance at Merrion Capital, replacing Pat Landy who left last summer.
Readying banks and insurance companies for IAS in 2005
International accounting standards (IFRS/IAS) must be adopted in 2005, and to inform and assist international banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions with their requirement to prepare accounts in accordance with IAS, a series of conferences are being held by IASeminars Ltd.
Treasury professionals wanted as GE Capital sets up significant new Dublin operation
Treasury, structured finance, and funds professionals are in demand this month, with GE Capital setting up a new hedging operation in Dublin, and Rabobank recruiting for structured finance professionals. If you have a job, or if you are recruiting for a significant top job which you think should be profiled here, please contact us with the details (email: topjobs@finance-magazine.com)
ECB rate to remain steady until 2005
Rates in Eurozone could be as high as 3p.c. by end of Q2 ’05 economists say.
Volatility to continue in forex markets, but currencies should trade in narrower ranges
The euro’s rise against the dollar should come to a halt over 2005, with the dollar having more upside potential, but some degree of volatility will remain, the majority of economists responding to this month’s FINANCE forecasting survey predict.
Majority say euro is set to decline against dollar
Euro will decline against dollar but will remain strong.
Equity rally to continue
Performance of global stock markets to improve further.
Bond yields on upward trajectory
Yields of US 10-year treasury and 10-year bunds forecast to increase.
Building a treasury strategy
The Heiton Group is one of Ireland’s leading industrial groups, and was recently the target of a bid from the Grafton Group. Treasury plays a critical role in delivering the group’s key objectives, and the goal of the function is to hold a level of debt which ensures an optimum weighted average cost of capital (WACC), while at the same time retaining capacity to borrow money up to our facility limits in order to finance the range of development and acquisition opportunities that exist, says Peter Byers.
Growth in use of takeover schemes continues
Takeover schemes have finally become part of the landscape for takeovers in Ireland, illustrated by the use of such a scheme in the First Active takeover by Royal Bank of Scotland. While such schemes may not be suitable for many takeovers, they potentially can offer significant advantages to acquirers, Barry Devereux writes.
RBS’ surprise acquisition of First Active wins ‘Deal of the Year’ 2004
Of the deals nominated for this year’s ‘Deal of the Year’ competition, the acquisition of First Active in October, a deal which took the market by surprise, has been voted the top deal of the past year by Ireland’s leading corporates, followed by the management buy-out of Riverdeep, and the acquisition of the Telford Group by the Grafton Group.
Share-based payments - a new accounting challenge
With 39 per cent of Irish companies providing shares or share options as an employee benefit, the new IFRS 2 standard on share-based payments will have a significant impact writes Brendan Sheridan.
Ireland’s response to Enron - what it will mean
The Companies (Auditing and Accounting) Act 2003 was signed into law on 23rd December 2003. However, the actual sections of the Act will only be commenced following a Ministerial order after a consultation process between the Minister and relevant industry bodies. The Act is further testament to what is becoming a worldwide response to a perceived lack of adequate controls and regulation of companies, their directors and auditors and is an area of concern, write Paula Kelleher and Gregory Reilly, which has been highlighted, in recent times with corporate scandals in both Europe and the US.
Retail assets rise by 17 per cent in 2003
Retail assets of IAIM members grew to €19 billion or by 17 per cent in 2003, boosted by renewed level of confidence by investors in equity related products, and continued flows into SSIA products writes Gary Connolly.
Liquidity management products for corporate treasurers: the options continue to grow
A current hot trend amongst both corporates and banks is cash management with many Treasurers now realising the benefits of bringing cash into their front office. With the recent ratings downgrades resulting in higher borrowing costs and banks suffering ratio limitations due to Basle 2, treasurers and bankers alike have been forced to look at alternatives for providing liquidity. The need to utilise in-house funds, and the simultaneous growth in money market funds has caused finance professionals to look at cash in a new light, writes Annemarie Moore.
Insurance premium tax - how to reduce your insurance costs
Insurance premium taxes tend to attract little attention. However insurance is becoming an increasingly large part of the cost of doing business and inevitably planning to minimise its cost is becoming important Brian Daly writes.
Ireland’s Common Collective Fund
The Common Collective Fund (CCF) is Dublin’s answer to part of the pan EU pension dilemma. It attempts to address some of the problems and costs faced by multinationals in organising group-wide pensions. However it is not, and does not pretend to be a pan EU pension fund.
Foreign Tax Credits
Exposure to taxation in more than one country is a routine risk for an international financial services firm. The foreign tax credit regime is one of the principal means of redressing double taxation. The Finance Act 2004 has improved our foreign tax credit regime in respect of double taxation of dividend income.
Key investment terms
Mercer Investment Consulting present an ‘investment dictionary’ of terms commonly used in investment management. Part one A-N.
Playing the game of life
Alan Lewis is one of international rugby’s best-known referees, and was involved in the Rugby World Cup 2003, as well as the Six Nations this year. But he also has a day job, and is managing director of Lewis Hohn Williams, an insurance brokerage.
Survey: the investment attitudes of Irish pension fund managers, including their views on hedge funds
Hedge funds are becoming an increasingly popular allocation for pension funds but a recent survey has revealed that the main barriers to investing in alternatives is a lack of knowledge, followed by client size and lack of resources, Tom Geraghty writes.
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