Friday 28 October 2016

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 12/06/2015 | 07:00

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

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Irish Independent:

***Negotiating teams from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Greek government left Brussels yesterday, with the IMF blaming “major differences” and saying that no deal had been agreed.

A more amiable mood between Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday had led investors to think that the Greek debt stand-off had come to an end.

The brief rally enjoyed by holders of Greek equities is now expected to dissolve this morning, after Gerry Rice, a spokesman for the IMF, said: “The ball is very much in Greece’s court.”

***3 Ireland is ditching plans to introduce fees for 4G access in a move that will save two million customers €5 per month.

The operator had planned to increase bills from the end of this month, at the same time as it upgraded its 1.5 million O2 customers to 4G mobile data speeds.

But it has now changed tack, promising to extend an 18-month old “promotional” period of offering the 4G access at no extra cost.

***The Government and banks have been accused of abandoning thousands of mortgage holders who are now years behind on their mortgage repayments.

New figures from the Department of Finance show that a total of 29,070 mortgage accounts were more than two years behind on repayments at AIB/EBS, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB, KBC Bank and ACC in April.

The total number of residential mortgage accounts in long-term arrears at the six banks has changed little over the past two months.

Irish Times:

***Liberty Global, the US cable giant owned by billionaire John Malone, is conducting due diligence on Irish broadcaster TV3 with a view to buying the business, according to the Irish Times.

The paper reports that while talks are at an advanced stage, a deal is not expected for several months and would require ministerial and regulatory clearance.

TV3’s sale is being handled by London-based corporate adviser Quayle Munro and the station’s owners reportedly are looking for a price of between €120m and €150m.

***Ryanair has been given a final ultimatum by a UK competition watchdog to sell most of its near-30pc stake in Aer Lingus.

The airline, headed by Michael O’Leary, has only until the end of next Thursday to draw up a shortlist from which an independent trustee will be selected to oversee the share sale.

But Ryanair – already battling the long-standing decision by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to make it cut its Aer Lingus stake to no more than 5pc – has vowed to take further legal action to block the forced sale.

***On average Irish companies grew at twice the rate of their European counterparts last year, according to a new study.

Revenue for companies on the S&P Ireland Index, which monitors the leading 35 firms in the country, grew by an average rate of 9pc last year.

In comparison companies listed on the S&P Europe 350 index, which tracks the performance of some of the continent’s leading firms, saw an average rate of 4pc revenue growth.

Irish Examiner:

***Former financial regulator Liam O’Reilly told the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry he had missed the “iceberg” that became the financial crisis when he was retiring from office in 2006 and thought he had left the office in a good state.

Mr Reilly regretted that failures in the system “were not recognised during my tenure in office”.

“We didn’t have the sense of danger that was required at the time,” he said, adding that they “could have adopted  a more aggressive and intrusive policy” but that would have required more resources.

***New figures show that the price of consumer goods has continued to fall, however there were signs that the dampening effects of the collapse in oil prices is on the wane.

CSO consumer price figures show show that the prices fell by 0.3pc in the year to May, the sixth successive monthly fall.

However prices rose by 0.3pc from April to May led by a monthly rise in transport and communications, which may be an indication of the dampening effects of crude oil prices.

***Irish global biotech investment fund Malin has invested €34.5m into Irish specialty pharmaceutical company Altan Pharma for a 65pc stake in the business, its second investment announcement in as many days.

Malin, set up by a number of executives from Irish drugmaker Elan to invest in smaller companies which have yet to list on the stock market, raised €330m in one of Europe's biggest ever life science stock market debuts in March.

Earlier this week Dublin-based Malin said that it had invested $35m (€31m), and committed a further $10 million into US drug firm Melinta Therapeutics, which was its first new asset post IPO.

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