ISEQ index closes slightly down on Thursday

The ISEQ index closed at 5070.45 on Thursday down 0.74 points.

The ISEQ index closed at 5070.45 on Thursday down 0.74 points.

Eircom confirmed plans to float Dublin and London Stock exchanges in the first half of March - subject to market conditions.

Owners Valentia Holdings said they will seek to raise €300m to clear the company's debt and change the name to the Eircom Group.

Shares in hotel group Jury's shed 80c to close at €10 on the ISEQ today.

Earlier the company released 2003 results that saw a 13% reduction in profits due to pressures on both occupancy and room rates.

Jury's blamed the war in Iraq, the outbreak of SARS and the strengthening euro against sterling and the dollar.

It described its outlook for profit growth for 2004 as 'cautiously optimistic' and announced plans to build a new 250-bed Jurys Inn in Nottingham, England.

Ryanair is to scrap its London to Brussels Charleroi route from April 29. The decision follows the EC ruling that the Irish no-frills airline should repay €4.5m of the subsidies it receives in connection with its Charleroi operation.

The low fares airline stock was up 5c to €4.70.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said that the route could not be sustained if costs are increased and that the flights will now operate on lower cost routes between private airports such as London Stansted, Glasgow Prestwick, Stockholm Skavsta and London Luton.

O'Leary also indicated that he would be meeting with Brussels Charleroi Airport and the (local Belgian) Walloon authorities shortly to agree a way forward.

Paddy Power continued to rise - up 20c to €8.35 - as plans for expansion into the UK market became public after yesterday's results.

Datalex issued results in line with a trading statement made last December 2003. Shares remain on the 0.63c mark.

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