Outlook more ‘positive’ for MBNA workers

The outlook for over 700 workers at Bank of America’s MBNA credit card facility in Carrick-on-Shannon received a boost this week with news that a ‘potential buyer’ is in place.

The outlook for over 700 workers at Bank of America’s MBNA credit card facility in Carrick-on-Shannon received a boost this week with news that a ‘potential buyer’ is in place.

“Definitely positive moves are afoot. The signs are very good and a potential buyer is in place,” he said.

However a spokesperson for Bank of America said there was “no update” on a potential buyer and they could not comment on “rumour and speculation”.

What they did confirm was that the Bank had sold its Ireland Consumer Loans Portfolio to the Apollo European Principal Finance Fund, L.P. (EPF).

“The small portfolio was not core to our main consumer credit card business in Ireland and we have been considering a number of strategic options for our consumer loans business in Ireland for some time,” noted the Bank spokesperson.

It is thought that the portfolio sale only affects eight members of staff in Carrick-on-Shannon and the sale itself is not expected to have any impact on their jobs.

Deputy Frank Feighan has welcomed the retention of the jobs and said he is continuing to work very closely with MBNA and the Minister to secure a buyer.

MBNA recorded nearly €3m in pre-tax profits

The news comes as the latest financial figures were released for MBNA’s credit-card business in Ireland which recorded pre-tax profits of €2.97m last year.

Accounts filed with the Companies Office showed that pre-tax profits at MBNA Ireland Ltd dropped by 14.5% from €3.47m to €2.97m in the 12 months to the end of December last.

The company sustained the drop in pre-tax profits after revenues decreased by 7% from €37.4m to €34.7m.

The announcement relating to the Bank of America withdrawing from its Irish credit-card business was made in August, but the directors’ report signed off on March 11 this year confirmed that a restructuring of its Irish operation was under consideration at that time.

The report stated that the “directors are aware of a possible restructure within the MBNA Europe Bank Ltd Group which in 2011 could lead to the sale of the company’s business to its parent”.

They stated: “In the event of a sale, all material assets and liabilities of the company would be purchased by the parent at fair value. It is understood that the fair value of the land and buildings is likely to be lower than the current carrying value.

“On the basis that no formal decision has been made on this restructure, the directors consider that it continues to be appropriate to prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis.”

The directors stated that net operating expenses for 2010 reduced from €35.6m to €33.3m “due to a combination of reduced people costs and other efficiency savings”.

The figures showed that at the end of the last year the numbers employed by the company had decreased by 5% from 667 to 630 with staff costs reducing from €25.7m to €24.4m.