What it says in the papers: business pages
Here are the main business stories from this morning's papers:
***Some of the biggest developers in the country are poised to follow Johnny Ronan out of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) after he repaid his debt to the State’s bad bank yesterday.
Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Group is on course to exit Nama by the end of the year as agreed in the firm’s business plan, according to industry sources. And Gerry Gannon’s Gannon Properties is also working towards an exit from the bad bank.
The moves come on the back of Mr Ronan becoming the highest profile developer to get out of Nama following a final payment of €300m yesterday.
***The world’s biggest private equity firm is ready to lend to Irish businesses as it moves to fill a gap in the market left by Ireland’s shrinking banks.
The Irish Independent understands that New York-based Blackstone Group is open for business to provide financing to SMEs in Ireland.
The firm has not publicly announced its plan but is ready to consider deals if approached by a borrower.
***An overhaul of Microfinance Ireland lending rules is expected to kick start a major increase in lending by the State-backed fund, which has seen muted interest from borrowers despite significant resources and a high profile launch in 2012.
A rule that restricted access to the fund’s loans to businesses that were previously refused credit by a commercial bank has now been scrapped, following a State review. MFI has loaned out just under €8m to date. However, the fund has seen a strong recent increase in the number of applicants, with lending increasing by 52pc over the past six months.
MFI CEO Michael Johnson said he expects the upward trend to continue, and hopes MFI will be lending out €12m a year by 2018.
***Finance Minister Michael Noonan is set to ask Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan to look for action from commercial banks in relation to high variable mortgage rates.
The move comes amid increasing political opposition to high variable rate home loans. Variable rates in Ireland are more than double those charged elsewhere in the eurozone.
Despite the opposition, to date the Central Bank has resisted interfering in the setting of variable rates, saying that it does not want to smother competition in the market.
***One of the UK’s biggest holiday resort company’s is set to announce plans for the country’s largest-ever holiday resort village to be built in Co Longford.
The €100m development is set to support as many as 600 people during construction.
The firm runs some of the UK’s most successful holiday resorts, with annual turnover of €400m, and boasts year-round occupancy rates of 97pc.
***The economic recovery does not need to be aided by Government stimulus, according to the Central Bank’s latest economic bulletin.
Dame Street said the economy is expected to grow by 3.8pc this year, fractionally better than had been anticipated, and 3.7pc in 2016, fractionally less than a previous forecast.
But it warned that despite the strong recovery, the Government must continue on the path of fiscal consolidation in line with European rules, with an adjustment of at least 0.5pc of the value of the economy to try to ensure against unsustainable spending.
***Motorists left out of pocket when Setanta Insurance collapsed 12 months ago could be waiting years for any compensation.
The Dublin-based, Malta-licensed insurer left 75,000 Irish customers without cover when it went bust last April, however liquidators cannot pay out claims until the company’s full liabilities are established.
The total bill could run to €95m and the question of when any money will be paid to policy holders is still up in the air, the Oireachtas Finance Committee was told yesterday.
***Ireland’s largest farmer-owned dairy processor, Dairygold, posted profits of €27.2m for 2014 yesterday.
Despite milk throughput rising 5pc to just short of 1bn litres, profits at the Mitchelstown-headquartered business were slightly lower than 2013, on the back of a 50pc fall in prices on international dairy markets from February through to December last year.
The co-op also spent close to €7m by subsidising the milk price it paid it’s suppliers by 0.6-0.7c per litre.
***Irish multinational foods giant Glanbia has sold its stake in its consumer dairy products venture in Nigeria for €29m.
The company yesterday announced that its partner in the venture, UK consumer goods firm PZ Cussons, is to buy out its 50pc stake in the Nutricima plant.
As part of the transaction, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland has now entered into a long-term agreement with Nutricima for the supply of dairy ingredients.