Opening Bell: Ireland slashes debt at the fastest rate, pound fears, CitJet eyes stockmarket flotation

Get up to speed with today's breaking Irish and international business news...

New data compiled by Bloomberg has found that Ireland has the fastest falling public debt in the eurozone.

The country is expected to cut its debt-to-GDP ratio by close to 18% between 2014 and the end of this year.

According to the report, Ireland’s debt-to-GDP is expected to drop to 99.1% - or €213bn.

It is worth noting that this reduction comes from a high starting point - Ireland still has the second highest debt per capita after only Japan.

______________________________________________________

A combination of growing uncertainty regarding the UK’s Brexit referendum and Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels resulted in markets turning on the pound sterling yesterday.

The British currency was driven to a two-year low after two Brexit surveys showed increases in support for the ‘out’ side.

There are also growing concerns that a civil war may break out within The Conservative Party as June’s vote approaches.

Bookies have narrowed their odds but they still expect the UK to stay in the EU.

The currency has steadied and this morning one pound buys €1.26 and $1.41.

______________________________________________________

Some 20 retail investment intermediaries face proceedings from the Central Bank which could result in them losing their licences.

This is as a result of an investigation into the sector which found that 325 brokers were not compliant with minimum mandatory reporting obligations.

Of this group, 171 are now compliant and 134 firms have sought voluntary revocation, but the outstanding 20 face further action.

This could result in them losing their licences according to The Irish Times.

The Central bank probe found that a number of brokers failed to submit annual returns - while many of those who did were not fully compliant with key regulatory requirements.

______________________________________________________

The Dublin-based airline CityJet has been sold by Germany’s Intro Aviation - to its founder Pat Byrne and a group of investors.

Mr Byrne has spoken with the Irish Independent - and told the newspaper that the company is likely to pursue a stock market flotation during the next two to three years.

He has not revealed the price paid for the airline, or the identities of his fellow investors - other than describing them as "European experts in aviation finance."

The firm has been loss-making since 2008 - but Mr Byrne expects it to return a modest profit this year.