MBNA writes down value of Carrick centre

Bank of America which operates the MBNA Call Centre in Carrick-on-Shannon has written down the value of its premises by €33.8 million, to €7.9 million, in preparation for its sale next year.

Bank of America which operates the MBNA Call Centre in Carrick-on-Shannon has written down the value of its premises by €33.8 million, to €7.9 million, in preparation for its sale next year.

The premises and its fittings on the Dublin Road, which are owned by MBNA Ireland Ltd, are being sold to a fund associated with US asset management group, Apollo Global Management.

Apollo are also the company that is buying the Irish consumer credit card portfolio, the European Principal Fund secured approx 250 jobs in Carrick. The portfolio involved 200,000 customers who had debts of €650 million.

According to a spokesperson for MBNA the transfer of business to Apollo is expected to happen in the “first half of next year.” The sale of the centre is also expected to happen early in 2013.

At the Leitrim County Council September meeting, Carrick Fine Gael Councillor Gerry Reynolds said that the Apollo take over is expected in “January next year.”

Although the premises has been written down to €7.9 million according to their recent accounts, MBNA would not comment on the figure of the sale agreed by Apollo for the centre.

The accounts filed for MBNA Ireland say it will continue to provide services to MBNA Europe for the foreseeable future. Some of the employees at the centre are to continue to work for MBNA, servicing credit card customers in the UK, while others will become employees of Apollo, servicing the Irish credit card portfolio now owned by Apollo.

The centre employed an average of 460 people during 2011, according to the MBNA Ireland accounts just filed. While the company reported a pre-tax loss of €31.78 million, this included the €33.8 million impairment charge.

Net operating expenses for the company decreased to €26 million, from €33.3 million in 2010, due to a combination of reduced employee costs and other efficiency savings, according to the accounts. There was an associated fall in turnover, to €26.5 million from €34.7 million in 2010.

The company had shareholders’ funds of €20.4 million at the end of 2011, down from €52.2 million at the end of 2010. The average number of employees was 460, down from 630 in 2010, while the cost of employing staff fell to €16.6 million, from €24.4 million. The three directors of the company shared remuneration of €204,628.

Last month it was announced the interest rate on MBNA credit cards was increasing by 4 per cent.

The spokesperson for MBNA said there are “no updates” on seeking a buyer for the UK credit card section of MBNA. Leitrim County Council also sought updates on the situation this month from the IDA and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and were told that the process is still ongoing.

Cllr Gerry Reynolds and other members of Leitrim County Council said “pressure should be kept on the IDA to help find a buyer for the English market of the credit card business which employs 400 people.”