Monday 24 October 2016

What it says in the papers: business pages

Published 12/05/2015 | 07:00

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

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Irish Independent:

***Greece will meet a crunch deadline to repay debts owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today but Finance Minister Michael Noonan said he is concerned about the country’s access to cash.

Eurozone finance ministers yesterday issued a short statement on Greece following their monthly meeting in Brussels, welcoming progress made so far on reform talks but warned there was some distance to go.

Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, Mr Noonan said progress had been made and that the country had until the end of June to make reforms.  But he added: “There is some disappointment that progress isn’t being made more rapidly.

***The head of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), Kieran Mulvey, has admitted his officials are in a race against time to secure a breakthrough in the ongoing bus dispute.

Talks at the LRC were scheduled to resume today as unions press for “cast-iron guarantees” over issues such as employment and the future of bus routes.

But the threat of strike action this weekend remains in place – and would cause further chaos for passengers.

***US investors who have more than tripled their money turning around Waterford Wedgwood say they are in the market for more Irish deals.

New York-based private equity company KPS bought Waterford Wedgwood for €107m after it went into receivership in January 2009. KPS has now agreed to sell the business for €390m to Finland’s Fiskars following a sale process run by Goldman Sachs.

“We are open for business. We would welcome an opportunity to invest in Ireland again,” KPS managing director Michael Psaros told the Irish Independent yesterday.

Irish Times:

***European commissioner Pierre Monsovici has warned Ireland that it must ensure that it maintains its economic reforms and continue to work to bring down its high public debt levels.

According to the Irish Times he made the comments yesterday following an update from Finance Minister Michael Noonan on the latest troika mission to Ireland.

Mr Monsovici said: “Ireland is experiencing a strong recovery which we are forecasting to continue this year and next year. That’s why we would encourage Ireland to proceed with the implementation of key structural reforms and to make the most of the benign economic climate to proceed with fiscal consolidation and to keep public debt on a steady downward path.”

***The former chief executive of RSA Ireland was made the “fall guy” for wider problems at the insurer, an employment tribunal has been told.

Philip Smith’s counsel said that the dismissal of his client from RSA Ireland in 2013 was done to satisfy the markets and take attention away from wider structural issues at the organisation, the Irish Times reports.

The claim was rejected by RSA’s legal team as both sides made their closing arguments to the Employment Appeals tribunal. The chair said that she hopes to deliver a decision on the case shortly after the june bank holiday weekend.

***Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said that he has no plans to introduce measures to provide relief to Irish shareholders of Standard Life who could see themselves out of pocket due to a postal mix up.

Mr Noonan had provided a provision in last year’s Finance Act that ensured that Vodafone shareholders who were affected by a similar issue were not left out of pocket.

However, responding to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD Anthony Lawlor he said “this particular background is not a feature of the Standard Life return of value case.”

Irish Examiner:

***Less than 10pc of the country’s population owns more than half of ireland’s net household wealth, according to an analysis carried out by the Irish Examiner.

According to the newspaper, CSO research shows that the top 5pc of households alone possess 38pc of the net wealth, while the poorest 20pc of households owe more than they own.

Fr Sean Healy of Social justice Ireland told the paper that the results show the development of a two-tier society across the country.

***The Central Bank has confirmed that it is not seeking powers from the Government to force banks to reduce standard variable mortgage interest rates.

A report sent to the Department of Finance by the financial regulator will state that banks are not treating customers unfairly by passing on potential savings to variable rate customers due to the cost of tracker mortgages.

The Irish Examiner reports that as well as that a spokesperson for the Central Bank confirmed that the body is “not seeking” new laws to force banks to reduce fees.

***A leading bio-pharmaceutical firm which focuses on treatments for severe and rare disorders is to create about 200 jobs.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals will expand its Irish operations in a €450m project over the next four years at its College Park site in Blanchardstown, Dublin which will take its workforce to almost 500.

The new facility will be the company's first biologics manufacturing facility outside the United States, which uses human genes to create proteins.

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