Thursday 8 December 2016

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 16/04/2015 | 06:51

HERE are the main business stories from this morning's papers:

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Irish Independent

*Packaging giant Ardagh, which is controlled by Dublin financier Paul Coulson, is edging closer to what would be its biggest ever acquisition – a €3bn purchase of a unit being sold by French industrial giant Saint Gobain.

Saint Gobain has effectively had its Verallia glass packaging unit up for sale for months, with Ardagh and international private equity giants among those in the running to buy it.

It’s been speculated that it could fetch as much as €3bn and, if Ardagh is successful, it would be another transformative deal for group, which has its roots in Irish Glass.

*Business groups could be sidelined from having any direct say in a veto that IAG wants to give the Government over any future disposal of Aer Lingus slots at Heathrow.

IAG said in February that it intended to give the Government a veto over any possible future sale the airline’s Heathrow slots, and it was understood at the time that the Chambers of Commerce in Dublin, Shannon and Cork could also have a say in that veto.

But the chief executives of the Shannon and Dublin Chambers of Commerce say they have not been contacted about the planned veto powers by either the Department of Transport or a steering group it chairs and which was established to advise the Government about whether or not it should sell its 25.1pc stake in Aer Lingus.

*Shares in Tullow jumped as much as 8.8pc in London yesterday as Goldman Sachs highlighted the potential for a takeover or the sale of some assets.

Tullow advanced 8.8pc to £5.44 during afternoon trading, extending a 10pc gain posted over the Monday and Tuesday trading sessions.

The gains came as Goldman said in a report that mergers and acquisitions are set to drive the exploration sector.

Irish Times

*The EU has thrown the legal book at Google, with competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager formally accusing the search giant of rigging its search engine and its Android smartphone system to disadvantage rival firms.

“In the case of Google I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules,” she said.

The investigation could result in multi-billion euro fines and new limitations on Google’s business activities in the lucrative EU market that makes up an estimated one-third of the company’s revenue.

*A woman protesting against European Central Bank policy leapt onto a desk in front of ECB President Mario Draghi yesterday as he spoke at a news conference, disrupting the normally technical presentation.

“End the ECB dictatorship,” she shouted, throwing what appeared to be confetti and sheets of paper. Her T-shirt bore a similar message, spelling it “Dick-tatorship”.

Once the press conference resumed, Mr Draghi told reporters in Frankfurt that the ECB has no plans to curb or curtail its money-printing programme which helped lift European stock markets to a 14 year high.

*Irish packaging group Smurfit Kappa has agreed to pay £43.5m (€60m) for UK-based Inspirepac, extending its presence in the market.

Smufit Kappa is buying the non-integrated corrugated, high quality print and display business from the Logson Group.

Inspirepac has 279 employees and operates two packaging plants and two additional facilities in the north of England. It generated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £6m last year.

Irish Examiner

*The trade surplus shrank slightly in February as imports rose twice as quickly as exports.

The surplus fell marginally to €3.82bn from a revised surplus of €3.84bn posted in the opening month of the year.

Seasonally-adjusted exports rose 2.9pc in February while imports jumped 6.1pc. The revised overall trade surplus for 2014 was €35.7bn or €1.26bn  lower than the surplus of €37bn recorded in 2013.

*US exploration firm Europa Oil and Gas will bid for more Irish acreage in the next licensing round in the Irish Atlantic margin, the company’s chief executive has confirmed.

The company, which co-owns three licences off the Kerry coast with Kosmos Energy, recently estimated resources of 1.5bn barrels of oil.

“We will be bidding for new licences in the 2015 Irish Atlantic Margin licensing round," said chief executive Hugh Mackay.

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