News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Monday 18th May 2015

PTSB raises €300m in unsecured debt for the first time in 8 years


Issuance of 3-year notes marks significant step in bank’s re-entry into wholesale markets

Retail shareholders in Permanent TSB have subscribed for 479,954 new shares in the company under the terms of an open offer, which formed part of the bank’s €525 million recent capital raise.

Permanent TSB has raised €300 million of unsecured debt on the market, the first unguaranteed debt transaction by the bank since before the crash in 2007.

The issuance of three-year senior unsecured medium term notes marks a significant step in the bank’s re-entry into wholesale markets.

“This is a milestone for us to get a benchmark trade of this size completed,” PTSB group treasurer Paul Byrne said.

“It further builds on the momentum of last week’s positive actions by the ratings agencies, the successful execution of the capital raise and the strides we have made in deleveraging our non-core assets,” he added.

Retail shareholders in the bank, meanwhile, have subscribed for 479,954 new shares in the company under the terms of an open offer, which formed part of the bank’s €525 million recent capital raise.

The shares were priced at €4.50 each, raising €2.16 million for PTSB. The take-up represented 17.5% of the 2.7 million shares that were offered to retail shareholders, who between them owned 0.8% of the company prior to PTSB’s fundraising exercise.

This involved PTSB raising €400 million through the sale of 88.9 million shares to a group of private investors, and €125 million via a debt instrument.

In addition, the Government sold 21.8 million shares for €98 million. All of this had the effect of reducing the State’s holding in PTSB to 75% from the 99.2% previously.

PTSB offered the stock to retail shareholders at the same price as it had to the group private investors last month.

The new shares will trade on the main stock markets in Dublin and London and the total number of PTSB ordinary shares in issue is now 454.7 million.

The funds from the capital raising were used to plug a €125 million hole in its capital, identified in regulatory stress tests last October, and to pay €410.5 million to the Government through the repurchase of the State’s contingent capital notes.

Lack of finance ‘hitting construction’ in Ireland


Overwhelming positivity over the future of the construction industry is being tempered by a severe lack of finance with almost two-thirds of industry leaders citing it as the biggest impediment to growth.

More than 60% of construction sector business leaders identified securing finance for projects as the biggest challenge they face in attempting to develop their business against the improving economic back-drop.

The funding shortage has forced many construction companies to look to other sources of finance to fund projects, with private equity by far the most popular.

According to research carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), more than 80% of construction firms have turned to private equity in the last two years, with a joint venture and accessing Mezzanine finance other popular options.

A number of other aspects, including burdensome building regulations, competitive project pricing and issues with the planning regime are also acting as impediments to growth in the sector, according to PwC tax partner, Ronan MacNioclais.

“The survey highlights that access to finance, onerous planning and building regulations and uneconomic development prospects may be contributing to the low levels of planning applications compared to demand. There needs to be an equilibrium between the cost of building, price and sensible regulation,” he said.

The manifestation of these issues can be seen in a drop-off in planning permissions granted in 2015 thus far this year, Mr MacNioclais added.

“There are concerns that the permissions granted thus far in 2015 are below those in the third quarter 2014 and that this will have a knock-on effect on an already supply constrained market.

“From a foreign direct investment perspective, it is also important that high-end office space is readily available,” he said.

Nearly half (45%) of respondents to the survey are having difficulties recruiting certain types of individuals with specialist skills including contractors (78%) and site managers (44%). Despite the challenges the industry continues to face, optimism is high among business leaders with 95% favourable about the outlook for their sector for the next three years.

Almost nine in 10 expect turnover will increase in the year ahead of which nearly two-thirds expect their turnover to rise more than 10%.

Over two-thirds (68%) expect to increase employee numbers of which nearly half (44%) are planning to increase the workforce by more than 10%.

However, 12% still plan to reduce their workforce.

Many Irish women unaware of their own cholesterol figures

A major risk factor for cardio-vascular disease


Many Irish women over the age of 45 are very unaware of their cholesterol numbers, despite high cholesterol being a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is responsible for 50% of all female deaths in this country.

According to a new survey of over 500 adults, which was carried out in February and March of this year, 50% of women aged 45 and older are unaware of their cholesterol number.

While half of the participants said they have their cholesterol checked every year, women, and those aged between 45 and 54, were the least likely to have undergone testing.

The survey also revealed that many people rely on reminders and prompts from healthcare professionals, such as GPs, before having their cholesterol checked. Furthermore, one in four women admitted that they are not taking any steps in an effort to maintain a healthy cholesterol level, or do not know what steps to take.

“What is especially concerning about the findings is that women in the menopausal years (aged 45-54) are the least likely to have their cholesterol checked and yet this is the time when their risk of heart attack and stroke is significantly increased. Menopause is strongly associated with an increase in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and a decline in HDL (good) cholesterol levels,” noted Irene Gibson of the heart and stroke charity, Croí.

She pointed out that many people still perceive CVD as a ‘man’s disease’, however it is responsible for one in two deaths among women in Ireland.

“While cardiovascular risk is deferred by 10 years in women versus men, it is not avoided. It still remains the number one cause of death among women in Ireland. The findings of this study highlight the important need to educate women on their risk of CVD and to empower them to take action.

“The good news is that up to 90% of heart disease and stroke is preventable through lifestyle change and risk factor modification,” Ms Gibson said.

The survey also noted that men and women tend to talk to different people about health issues. Men talk to their families and GPs more, while women are more likely to talk to their friends. However overall, almost one in three people said that they had experienced a health concern that they had not told a loved one about.

The survey was carried out by Behaviours & Attitudes on behalf of Flora pro.activ.

Chronic fatigue expert to talk in Ireland

Some 12,000 Irish people are affected


A leading international expert on the condition ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is to give two talks to members of the public later this month.

ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) affects around 12,000 people in Ireland and symptoms can include overwhelming exhaustion, joint pain, muscle pain, disturbed sleep, impaired concentration and headaches.

Symptoms can vary greatly from day to day, or even within the same day. There is no known cure.

According to Vera Kindlon, chairperson of the Irish ME/CFS Association, ‘there are few doctors in Ireland who have a specialist interest in this illness, which can be frustrating for patients’.

Dr Abhijit Chaudhuri is a consultant neurologist at the Essex Centre of Neurological Science. He has a major interest in ME and even did his PhD thesis on the condition. He is due to give two talks in Ireland – one in Galway and one in Dublin – at the end of this month. These will be followed by a questions and answers session.

“These meetings will give patients an opportunity to hear the views of someone who has over 15 years’ experience of ME/CFS in his medical practice.

“In the past, we have noticed that those attending our meetings particularly relish the questions and answers session. Often these have gone on longer than the talk itself. Given Dr Chaudhuri’s experience and his background in neurological practice and research, I think that there will be a very interesting discussion at these meetings,” Ms Kindlon noted.

She pointed out that while there have been some improvements in services for people affected in the last 10 years, ‘many people still experience a considerable delay in obtaining a firm diagnosis’.

“More research has been published recently which again showed that an early diagnosis greatly improves the prognosis. Without a diagnosis, relations with family and friends can be strained and arrangements with employers or schools become very difficult.

“Having a name for what is wrong with them allows patients to better manage their condition. They can also then get in touch with other sufferers, learning how others have dealt with similar problems and gaining support and empathy from those who know exactly what it is like,” Ms Kindlon said.

Dr Chaudhuri will speak at the Connacht Hotel in Renmore, Galway, on Saturday, May 30, at 2.45pm. He will then speak in the Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport in Cloghran, Co Dublin, on Sunday, May 31, at 11am. Admission is €5.

Galway turns up the heat in a bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2020


Click here to view video:

As the battle heats up between Irish counties to become the European Capital of Culture in 2020, Galway has become the first county to launch an inspiring bid video in a rallying call to its citizens.

The launch of the video calls on the people of Galway to come together to collectively reflect upon and celebrate their unique and diverse culture, whilst focusing on re-imagining and creating the Galway of the future.

Galway are planning a citizen led campaign and have recently launched a new website that allows the people of Galway to create their own events, start their own projects & upload their own stories and news.

The competition between the counties will reach a critical point in October of this year when a European Jury of 12 individuals will narrow the contest down to the final two.

Galway are determined to work together to make official their unofficial title as the culture capital of Ireland.

Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture -Together We Can Make This Happen

Galway is bidding to become the European Capital of Culture in 2020. The bid represents an opportunity for us to come together as a community, to reflect on the uniqueness of our Galway culture and the richness, vitality and diversity of our shared European culture. More excitingly, this bid represents an opportunity for us to collectively re-imagine and work together to create a better, more vibrant and creative Galway of the future.

This bid is about and involves all of us. It’s about the way we work, play, laugh, sing, create, learn and write. It is about who we are as people, what we do and what we value. Winning this bid is up to all of us and we’re starting now. Let’s make this happen together!

Everybody is doing/pooing it wrong?

It’s actually unhealthy to sit on the toilet normally?

Everyone is pooing wrong - it’s actually unhealthy to sit on the toilet   This man is pooing like a champ (Picture Getty)

The wrights and wrongs of doing your daily sits?

You have almost certainly done just about every poo in your life the wrong way.

A new book, Charming Bowels by Giulia Enders, suggests that we don’t – ahem – ‘open the hatch completely’ when we sit on a toilet.

  Instead, we should all be squatting down.

If we sit, it’s like a garden hose with a kink in it – and can lead to health problems such as piles.’

If we squat, the poo slides out in a much healthier way which doesn’t put pressure on our bums.

Enders says, ‘1.2 billion people around the world who squat have almost no incidence of diverticulosis and fewer problems with piles.

‘We in the west, on the other hand, squeeze our gut tissue until it comes out of our bottoms.  Bottoms up as always!


Comments are closed.