Wednesday 29 March 2017

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

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

Irish Independent:

***Anglo Irish Bank staff ushered customers off the street and into back rooms to avert a run on the bank after the collapse in bank shares.

Peter Fitzgerald, former director of corporate and retail treasury at the bank, described the unprecedented rush to withdraw money when the shares of Anglo collapsed on St Patrick’s Day in 2008.

“We were moving customers that called to our savings branches off the street and into meeting rooms in the back of the building,” he told the Banking Inquiry.

***Recordings of thousands of phone calls involving bankers, solicitors and politicians will be handed over to police investigating the Project Eagle Nama deal.

All of the calls are said to involve former Nama adviser Frank Cushnahan, who is embroiled in the controversy over the €1.6bn sale of the Nama’s northern loans portfolio to US vulture fund Cerberus.

Property developer and bookmaker Gareth Graham said the recordings demonstrated “an ingrained culture of inappropriate and quite possibly illegal business conduct”.

***Bank of Ireland will look to repay €1.3bn of preference shares early next year to enable it to resume dividend payments, chief executive Richie Boucher said yesterday.

Ireland’s largest lender by assets has led a sector-wide revival as the economy grows faster than any other in Europe and is set to be the first among the country’s three domestically-owned banks to resume dividend payments following the 2008 financial crisis.

It must first stop counting the preference shares, a type of debt, as capital and after increasing its core Tier 1 capital ratio by 20pc in the first six months of the year, analysts predict it will redeem the shares at the earliest point of a guided January to July 2016 range.


Irish Times:

***Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe is close to deciding whether to go ahead with a rail line that would connect Dublin airport to the capital’s city centre, the Irish Times reports.

The National Transport Authority has drawn up a shortlist of options to link the airport with the city centre, including a new Luas line or a revamp of the controversial Metro North plan.

Speaking at the launch of Ryanair’s launch of its 2016 summer schedule the Minister said that he expected a final decision on an overall plan would be decided “soon” but would not be drawn on a definitive time.

***President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi has indicated that he is willing to extend the ECB’s quantitative easing programme that has so far seen billions of euros pumped into the eurozone.

Speaking yesterday Mr Draghi noted the recent difficulties seen in the Chinese economy and said that quantitative easing will continue until the end of the programme in September 2016 “or beyond, if necessary”.

The promise came after the central bank was forced to downgrade its latest quarterly projections for growth and inflation on the back of collapsing commodity prices and a persistent weakness in emerging markets.

***August saw close to 40,000 fewer people signing on the dole than the same month last year as conditions in the labour market continue to improve.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that on a monthly basis the number of people on the Live Register dropped by 1,900 in August to bring the seasonally adjusted total to 341,400.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Live Register showed a monthly decrease of 1,400 men in August, while women dropped by 400 over the same period.


Irish Examiner:

***Hotel group Dalat has secured planning permission for a €36m expansion of its Clayton Hotel in Dublin which will see it become one of the largest in the country.

Fingal County Council have the green light for the project last month which would add a 367 bedroom expansion to the hotel, an increase of 78pc in capacity at the 466 bedroom hotel.

Plans for the expansion were lodged last year by the Moran and Bewley Hotel Group prior to the hotel being sold to Dalata.

***Ryanair has said that it wants to develop its offering from Cork Airport and says that it is in talks with the facility’s owner, the DAA, over landing charges.

The commitment came after the airline was forced to retract comments from one of its spokesmen yesterday who urged people to raise Cork Airport’s perceived high landing charges as an election issue.

Speaking yesterday at the launch of the airline’s 2016 summer schedule, Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the charges are not an issue, although he said that charges for expansion are ongoing.

***Irish recruitment company CPL Resources yesterday unveiled a solid set of full year results and announced that it acquired a near 90pc stake in a UK recruitment business.

The deal to buy UK recruiter Clinical Professionals is worth €8m of which €5.1m has been paid with the remainder contingent on certain targets being met.

Meanwhile revenue at CPL rose from €369.2m to €393.6m while gross profit was up 7.3pc to €58.7m compared to €54.7m the year before.

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