The title is sarcastic really, you’re not going to learn very much.
As is now standard form in Ireland where drunks vote through draconian laws with colossal economic ramifications in the dead of the night, where clowns who oversee €3.7bn errors in the national accounts get promoted to Europe, where one minister seems to be doing his level best to undermine our meat sector, where another is suing a paper over a picture in a midnight bar on Budget week, and another still is suing a paper over what must be the only daub of mud thrown at him in the last year that isn’t true and where the most formidable judge in the land make decisions without access to the laws upon which he is ruling and where state employees take up senior positions in private sector companies which only days previously they had intimately overseen;
As is standard form in such a country, today we bring you details of the disposal of a massive tranche of state assets at the end of 2012, when Permanent TSB, the bank which we now 99.5% own sold car loans and other corporate assets in a deal which netted the tax payer €287m. The loans seemingly had a written-down value in PTSB’s books of €351m, so you, the tax payer shouldered a loss of €64m on that one transaction – nearly three years worth of respite care grants.
In the Dail yesterday, the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan fielded a series of questions on the transaction from the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, but really Minister Noonan just batted them away without disclosing anything like the level of detail to give assurance or confidence that the taxpayer wasn’t disadvantaged in the transaction.
So here’s what Minister Noonan won’t tell us (1) the full identity of the buyers (2) the loss on the transaction (3) the identities of the third parties engaged in the transaction and the fees paid (4) the recent trading results of one of the operating units which had 82 staff which was sold to its management. We do find out that the sale was to parties identified by PTSB and wasn’t open to the wider market.
The full parliamentary questions and responses are below.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: further to the statement by Permanent TSB in November 2012 confirming that it was selling loans with a value net of provisions and write-offs of €351m at February 2012, if he will identify the beneficial buyer of these loans.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: I am informed by Permanent TSB that the majority of the loan assets of Permanent TSB Finance Limited and the entire loan assets of Blue Cube Personal Loans Limited were sold to Consumer Auto Receivables Finance Limited in late 2012. In addition, a small portfolio of largely corporate loans was sold by Permanent TSB Finance Limited to a third party global bank. I am informed by Permanent TSB that the terms of the sale preclude it from providing additional information without the consent of the other parties.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: further to the statement by Permanent TSB, confirming that it was selling loans with a value net of provisions and writeoffs of €351m at February 2012, in return for consideration of €287m, if he will confirm the loss that was booked by PTSB on the transaction; if he will outline the process undertaken by PTSB to dispose of the assets in order to maximize the return on the transaction; and if he will provide a schedule of the recipients, fees, and costs incurred by PTSB on the transaction.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: I am informed by Permanent TSB that the loss booked on disposal is subject to audit and will be published in the Bank’s Annual Report which is due to be published in March 2013. Permanent TSB advises that a competitive sales process was undertaken, facilitated by the Bank’s corporate finance advisors. The Bank has informed me that over 20 parties were initially invited to express their interest in acquiring the assets and that multiple bidders were maintained through each stage of the process. I have been informed by Permanent TSB that ultimately exclusivity was offered to the bidder whose offer maximised the return to the Bank. Permanent TSB informs me that the total fees payable to all advisors, for services provided over a 14 month period will be disclosed in the Annual Report.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: further to the statement by Permanent TSB, confirming that it was selling two operating units to management for nominal consideration, if he will provide an outline of the valuations undertaken by PTSB of the two units so as to ensure the sale price was adequate; if he will provide the sales, operating profit, impairments and net profit after tax for the two units for each of the past five years; and if he will further provide the balance sheet for each of the units at 31 December 2011.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: I am advised by Permanent TSB that the sale price achieved after a detailed process was recommended by the financial advisers and approved by the Boards of Permanent TSB Finance and Permanent TSB. I am informed by Permanent TSB that the remaining information sought is commercially sensitive. Permanent TSB advises that the financial impact of the sale will be reflected in the Annual Report due to be published in March of this year.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: further to the statement by Permanent TSB, confirming that it was selling two operating units to management for nominal consideration, if he will confirm the number of staff employed at both units and the number of staff being transferred to the buyer of the units; if he will confirm if any redundancies have resulted from the transaction; and, if so, the number and cost of such redundancies.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: As I previously stated in response to PQ 53111/12 Permanent TSB has advised me that there are 82 employees employed at the two operating units and that all of the staff are being transferred to First Citizen Finance Limited. Therefore no redundancies have resulted from the transaction.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: further to the statement by Permanent TSB, confirming that it was selling loans with a value net of provisions and writeoffs of €351m at February 2012, if he will provide an outline of any other imminent disposals by PTSB.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: I am advised by Permanent TSB that no loan book disposals are envisaged by it at this time.