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Finance Magazine - July 2005 Issue

Grafton’s takeover of Heiton wins ‘Deal of the Year’
The long-awaited takeover of builders supply company the Heiton Group, by competitor the Grafton Group, has been voted this year’s FINANCE Deal of the Year 2005.
Barclays in Ireland restructures for growth
Barclay’s Bank is to rebrand and refocus its Irish subsidiary, Barclays International Financial Services (Ireland) Limited. The new bank, which will remain aimed at the corporate market, will be called Barclays Bank Ireland PLC, and it will pursue an accelerated growth strategy focused on several sectors including property, renewable energy, public private partnerships, leveraged finance, and treasury.
Second ACS for Bank of Ireland
Bank of Ireland has successfully launched its second E2 billion Irish covered bond, while Depfa Bank received a warm welcome with its $1.25 billion dollar issue in the USA.
ETF gets off to good start
Investors who purchased shares in Ireland’s first ever exchange-traded fund (ETF), the ISEQ 20 ETF, have seen a significant return on their investment since the launch date two months ago on April 22nd. ETFs are index funds that are listed and traded on exchanges like stock.
Logue on State Street’s plans for Ireland
ECJ decisions are challenging finance executives
European Court of Justice decisions and EU directives are becoming increasingly problematic for finance executives in Europe, a new survey has revealed, which also rates one Irish tax adviser very highly.
The month in review
The EU dilemma: competitiveness versus over-regulation
New firm launches its first E50m fund
Atlantic Bridge Ventures, a new technology venture capital firm based in Dublin and London, has launched its first technology fund, ABVEN I, and raised €50 million (US $65 million) at first closing. Dermot Desmond’s International Investment and Underwriting (IIU) is one of the investors in the fund. Fundraising for a second closing is expected later in the year. By achieving a first close, Atlantic Bridge is one of the few successful European venture capital teams to launch a new fund since 2000.
Reputation management venture opens
John Keilthy, former chief operating officer of stockbroking firm NCB, has joined forces with ReputationInc, the UK reputation management consultancy, for his new reputation management venture.
Salaries are higher for accountants in financial services than in industry
Chartered accountants working in the financial services sector tend to be better paid than their counterparts in industry and commerce, according to the 2005 annual survey of the Leinster Society of Chartered Accountants/The Accountants Panel. And chartered accountants employed by practices earn less than those employed by financial service and commercial companies.
New head for Ulster Bank’s corporate division
Robert Gallagher, general manager of AIB Corporate Banking International, has been appointed chief executive, Ulster Bank Corporate & Financial Markets (CBFM) with responsibility for Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Gallagher has been with AIB Capital Markets since 1990, and was a driving force behind the development of AIB’s acquisition finance division, and its Collateralised Debt Obligation (CDO) programme.
Broad welcome for ‘better regulation’ approach of new Commission Green Paper
Europe’s financial services sector has widely praised a European Commission commitment not to introduce any new EU financial services proposals without prior extensive consultation and proper impact assessments, writes Fiona Murray in this overview of the Commission's recently published Green Paper.
How to avoid currency risk when buying property outside the eurozone
Bruno Doutrelepont advises investors on how to eliminate the exposure of overseas property investments to adverse movements in the foreign exchange markets through currency hedging.
The risks from investing in convertible bond arbitrage
Convertible arbitrage strategy is pursued mainly by hedge funds and proprietary trading desks at investment banks, and is used to exploit inefficiencies in the pricing of convertible bonds by purchasing the undervalued security and hedging market risk using the underlying share. Although such strategies can lead to excellent returns, and in general market conditions there will be the benefit of added diversification, recent research has revealed that when equity markets become negative this benefit diminishes (perhaps when it is needed most), and in extremely positive equity markets returns may be poor due to the effect of falling implied volatility, say Mark Hutchinson and Liam Gallagher.
Focused State Street could employ over 2,000 in Ireland - Ron Logue
‘Our ‘secret weapon’ is our focus – we don’t have multiple lines of business to contend with and because of this we can continually invest in the business,’ is how State Street boss Ron Logue sees his company’s competitive advantage. As it aims to generate half its revenues outside the US, State Street’s Irish operations, State Street International and IFS, should continue to play a key role in the company’s plans, and Logue could see the business expanding to a point whereby State Street would employ as many as 2,000 workers in Ireland, he tells Fiona Reddan.
Convertible bonds rise to prominence
Convertible bonds are debt securities that can be converted into the common stock of the issuing firm at the option of the holder. With Euro-zone interest rates at a likely inflexion point, firms are likely to look more closely at convertible bond (CB) issuance to lock in low interest rates, pay down existing debt and increase leverage, write Bernard Murphy and Finbarr Murphy in this overview of the convertible bond market.
Grafton Group’s long-awaited acquisition of Heiton Group comes out on top as the Deal of the Year 2005
The expected takeover of the Heiton Group by the Grafton Group, which finally closed in January of this year, has won this year’s ‘Deal of the Year 2005’, pipping the acquisitions of the Barlo Group and the Savoy Group to the post. The deal continues the trend of take-privates which has marked the Deal of the Year survey over the past number of years, and which saw Madison Dearborn’s acquisition of Jefferson Smurfit take the award in 2003, and the take-private of First Active by Royal Bank of Scotland in 2004.
Filling a gap by hiring an interim manager
Pioneer Global Investments, is one of Dublin’s largest asset managers, and is also the human resources centre for the group’s international operations, in charge of the group’s compensation and benefits arrangements, which include equity-based reward schemes for executives across a multitude of jurisdictions. When the compensation and benefits manager needed to go on maternity leave, the need to find a capable and qualified replacement was very real, and so the department looked to hire an interim manager.
‘If it’s security you crave, don’t even think about becoming an interim manager’
An ability to hit the ground running and achieve results from early on is vital to becoming an effective interim manager says Peter Rowley, the 38 year old interim manager chosen by Pioneer Investments to replace its Compensation and Benefits manager. With only a couple of days to get a working knowledge and understanding of the business they find themselves in, their role within it, and the dynamics of the department and people around them – there are no ‘honeymoon’ periods for interim. But while not for everyone, the obvious attraction of working as an interim says Rowley, ‘is the diversity of the working environment which revolves around assignments that are challenging, even innovative, and always, always different’.
A Day in the Life - navigating the mortgage maze
As managing director of Simply Mortgages, the specialist mortgage and personal finance broker which was set up five years ago, Peter Bastable, has a keen eye on the Irish property market, which he says, is showing no sign, yet, of slowing down. 'At any one time the market floats about 100 variations of mortgage products and we are always trying to match the best product to each client and guide them through the maze'.
Who’s who in Finance: David Higgins, Director of Finance, Dublin Docklands Development Authority Finance, IT, Facilities
The Sharpe ratio - part two
In the second of a two part series, Bernard Murphy outlines the impact of the Sharpe Ratio, which can be a useful analytic tool for evaluating the impact of asset allocation decisions across different investment classes, on risk diversification.
Investors should make corporate governance check on public companies before investing
Robert Johnson argues that investors must examine public companies’ corporate governance policies before investing or they risk putting their money into the next Enron.
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