Sean Quinn

Quinn's election bonanza

The big financial winner from the effective collapse of the government last week may well have been Sean Quinn. His Buswells Hotel opposite the Dail was jammed with journalists and political figures as the international media descended on Dublin to cover the decision to call a slightly earlier than expected general election. It probably won't however make much of a dent in the €2.8bn owed by Quinn and his family to Anglo Irish Bank.

Those personal guarantees

As for developers, there seems to have been one rule for some and another for the rest. Revelations that Ballymore's Sean Mulryan had personal guarantees of just €29.8m on his British company's €1.55bn debt pile when its loans were transferred to Nama were followed by a lot of chatter around town that a certain well-known duo also had virtually no personal guarantees. When you take into account that Nama's Brendan McDonagh recently said about 60% of the loans going into the agency "would have been covered by the personal guarantees", it's clear the industry veterans managed to avoid them while the Johnny Come Latelys had to guarantee everything.

The boys from Brazil

Emerging markets will provide the next wave of financial powerhouses for the IFSC. Evidence of this was last week's announcement by Banco do Brasil that it had appointed Citigroup to provide investor services to its new Irish-domiciled qualified investor fund. Dubbed BB Unit Trust Ireland, it's an open-ended umbrella unit trust. The BRIC countries and Gulf states are the key to the future success of the IFSC and it's interesting to see the Brazilians in particular show interest, with some of their oil-rich investors recently dropping in to see Nama about buying properties here. Of course, the Brazilians have already made a home in Ireland in Gort, whose literal translation is 'field'. We've plenty of them to sell on if they're interested.

Smelling of roses

Floral-print veteran Laura Ashley raised its profit forecasts last week after a strong performance in December and January. The group, which has 221 stores in the UK and Ireland, posted a like-for-like sales increase of 2.7% in the 19 weeks to 11 December. Analysts though would do well to keep an eye on how much Disney's payment to take over the homewares retailer's shop on Grafton Street in Dublin impacted on that bottom line.

Jingle hell

Is jingle mail on the increase? The Sunday Tribune's sources would suggest so (see feature page 52) and the latest research from Moody's shows no improvement in the number of mortgage holders paying back their lender. Those in arrears of 90 days or more now stand at 5.68%, up from 5.38%, and the mortgage interest increases coming down the line are sure to push that figure higher.