Friday 20 April 2018

Irish digital skills

Ireland ranks ninth out of the 28 EU member states when it comes to digital performance, despite this country's reputation as a technology hub.

A report published by the European Commission labels Ireland as a "medium-performance" country.

Irish people fall short on digital skills with just 53pc of the population able to "operate effectively online", down from 56pc in 2012.

Shire buys US firm

Dublin-based drugmaker Shire has bought US firm Meritage Pharma for at least $70m (€61.6m), boosting its gastrointestinal drugs business.

Shire said it had obtained rights to buy privately-held Meritage in connection with its $4.2bn acquisition of rare disease specialist Viropharma in 2014. The fee could rise if development and regulatory milestones are reached, it said.

Junk bond fears

Major investors have written to their trade association to express concern about the European junk bond market, which has seen sales rocket over the last year as loose monetary policy has pushed yields down across the region.

More than 20 fund managers asked the Association for Financial Markets in Europe to update "best practice" guidelines that would help improve transparency and efficiency and help maintain the market's recent growth.

RBS restructuring

Royal Bank of Scotland will embark on another major scaling back of its investment bank, sources told Reuters, allowing it to focus on lending to British households and businesses.

Restructuring chief Rory Cullinan will take over responsibility for RBS's investment bank from Donald Workman, currently executive chairman for corporate and institutional banking, the sources said.

Mr Cullinan already runs RBS's internal 'bad bank' and is overseeing the sale of its US business Citizens and its Williams & Glynn business in Britain.

UK should cut - OECD

Britain should keep cutting its deficit after the general election, and may need to rethink plans to shield health and schools spending, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said.

The main parties have promised to maintain spending on schools and health, but the OECD said this might lead to unacceptably high cuts elsewhere.

Irish Independent

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