What it says in the papers: business pages
Published 24/02/2016 | 06:56
Here are the main business stories from this morning's papers:
* The numbers at work are now at the highest level since early 2009, new figures show, giving a boost to the outgoing Coalition as the election campaign enters its final days.
Although experts point out that employment growth was weaker than expected in the final months of last year, they argue the overall labour market trend shows the strength and breadth of the economic recovery.
The unemployment rate stood at 8.9pc last month, slightly higher than first thought, but economists believe it will dip further - to below 8pc - by the end of the year. Youth unemployment remains stubbornly high at 18.9pc, although that's down over the year from 20.3pc.
* NAMA will seek €80m for the Gresham Hotel when it formally puts it up for sale today.
CBRE and Christies have been tasked with selling the iconic Dublin hotel, which will be one of the last major hotel sales after the property crash.
The Gresham, which opened in 1817, is by far the most prestigious hotel on the northside of Dublin.
* Kerry Group is this year prepared to exceed the near €1bn it spent on acquisitions in 2015.
The company is actively exploring deals at the moment, chief executive Stan McCarthy told reporters yesterday.
"In terms of M&A activity, we have active M&A going on right now."
The Irish Times
* Employment levels hit their highest levels in seven years according to new figures released by the Central Statistics Office yesterday.
The figures come as a timely boost to the Government ahead of Friday's election.
The release from the CSO also showed a slowdown in the rate of employment growth in the final quarter of last year. Employer's group Ibec warned that businesses are becoming increasingly concerned over instability following the election.
* Eir is to continue with its own rollout of high-speed broadband to rural homes, which may challenge the State's official broadband plan.
According to a report in The Irish Times, Eir is pressing ahead with the rollout of broadband to 300,000 homes that have been earmarked for the rural broadband scheme.
Eir expects to have 100,000 of these homes connected by the end of the year, with the ambition to provide another 200,000 with broadband over the following three years.
* Bank of Ireland is to extend the maturity of its €1.4bn bonds that were issued to it by Nama six years ago.
The bonds were due to mature in March of this year, but in the bank's full year results, it said that it had agreed to accept the issuance of new bonds.
The new bonds will mature in March of next year.
* Limerick and Cork are the only two counties to join Dublin with an average disposable income greater than that of the rest of the State.
According to the latest figures from the CSO, the three counties all had average disposable income of over €18,707.
Dublin came out on top when it came to disposable income with an average of €20,885.
* Kerry Group could spend in excess of €1bn in acquisitions this year with the firm intending to keep a strong focus on taking over new businesses.
The firm's chief executive, Stan McCarthy, said that capital expenditure will amount to between 3pc and 4pc with more investment due to go towards improving manufacturing facilities.
Kerry spent in excess of €900m on acquisitions last year, including a €700m splurge on three different US ingredients specialists in October.
* Ladbrokes has an 'exciting' future in Ireland despite just coming out of a three-month examinership period last August.
Following the examinership period the firm shed 50 stores and 90 staff in its Irish operations.
Profits in the firm grew last year to €8.7m, up by 54.5pc on the previous year. However, that figure excludes around £10m in exceptional costs, which are associated to the examinership.