Saturday 22 October 2016

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 31/07/2015 | 07:00

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

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Irish Independent:

***Three former Anglo Irish Bank officials last night became the first bankers to be jailed since the onset of the financial crisis.

However, questions will now be raised as to why Anglo’s former chairman Sean FitzPatrick did not stand trial after the prosecution claimed that he was “the thread that ran through all the charges”.

His absence led to vociferous complaints by Mr O’Mahoney’s defence team that Mr FitzPatrick was “the man on the grassy knoll” or “Macavity the mystery cat”.

***British Airways owner IAG has been forced to extend the deadline for Aer Lingus shareholders to accept its €1.36bn offer to buy the Irish airline after Ryanair confirmed that it won’t formally accept the deal until the middle of next month.

The Irish Independent revealed yesterday that Ryanair hadn’t formally accepted the €1.36bn offer by IAG’s deadline of 1pm yesterday.

It meant IAG, headed by Willie Walsh, was forced to extend the offer deadline to August. It will have updated the stock exchange this morning. IAG had previously extended the offer period to yesterday. The delay in accepting the offer doesn’t pose any threat to the takeover, however.

***The Irish Water charging structure was designed to meet EU rules and was not in line with “best commercial practices”, according to Eurostat.

Despite this, the European statistical agency shot down the Coalition’s bid to keep the utility off the national balance sheet, and repeated how the Government exerts too much control over the controversial company.

The failure of Irish Water to pass the so-called Market Corporation Test has prompted a cross-party group of opposition senators to seek to have the Seanad recalled during the summer break for an emergency debate.

Irish Times:

***The Government will likely face calls to increase public spending and tax cuts in October’s budget after new data showed the economic recovery is accelerating.

Data from the Central Statistics Office found that overall activity has returned to pre-crash levels, although the population is larger, while the economy grew at a faster rate than previously recorded.

The CSO said that GSP grew by 5.2pc last year to €188.7bn, up 0.4pc on previous assessments, and increased at a rate of 6.5pc in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2014.

***Irish investment group One51 has received a takeover offer of  €1.80 a share that values the business at €288m, the Irish Times reports.

The price represents a premium of 9pc to the €1.65 a share that the company’s stock was trading at yesterday.  One51 is an unlisted plc which usually sees a small amount of stock movement.

The newspaper reports that the takeover approach has come from an Irish fund with a European focus which is not thought to be an existing shareholder.

***UK bank Lloyds is to sell off a portfolio of impaired Irish property and small business loans for about €1.2bn to a group of investors including Bank of Ireland, the Irish Times reports.

According to the newspaper the total value of the assets is £2.6bn, of which £2.3bn are impaired. The sale price is at a discount of about 70pc.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year and will reduce Lloyd’s exposure to Irish commercial assets to less than £30.

Irish Examiner:

***The foundation of Ireland’s economic  recovery is under threat, the Government’s competitiveness watchdog has warned.

The National Competitiveness Council yesterday issued a warning that the competitiveness on which the economic recovery has been built is vulnerable and should not be taken for granted.

Council chair Peter Clinch said that as economic growth gathers pace “we are at a risk of repeating past mistakes  which would threaten the sustainability of Ireland’s recovery”.

***Bord Gais Energy strong contribution to its parent company may help shield it from a cull of more than 6,000 employees  from Centrica’s global workforce, the Irish Examiner reports.

The British multinational said yesterday that it is planning to shed about 6,000 of its current 37,500-strong workforce after a strategic review of its global operations, although it added that it will create 2,000 new roles in growth areas to offset some losses.

Centrica did not confirm yesterday if there would be any jobs losses at Bord Gais, although the Irish Examiner says that the firm’s healthy contribution to its parent company’s bottom line means that it is likely to mean that it is likely to be largely unaffected by the lay offs.

***State forestry body Coillte plans to build six new wind farms over the next three years that will ultimately be able to power as many as 21,000 homes, the Irish Examiner reports.

The first of the projects, which is to be a  joint venture with the ESB in Wicklow, is set to become fully operational at some stage next year. Further wind farms are planned for Galway and Roscommon.

The news came as Coillte released a strong set of annual results which showed that operating profits rose by 46pc to €60.5m while revenue increased to €262.3m.

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