Monday 22 January 2018

Business pages: What it says in the papers Newsdesk Newsdesk

Here are the main stories on the business pages this morning:

Irish Independent

*As many as 80,000 new Irish jobs will be created by foreign firms by 2019, the IDA has forecast.

The agency will seek as many as 900 new investment projects as part of its new strategic plan aimed  at boosting regional employment.

Acknowledging that job losses would be inevitable, IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan said that the numbers employed by multinationals would surge by 209,000  by 2019, up from a current level of 174,000 for a net increase of 35,000 new jobs

*Petroceltic boss Brian O’Cathain saw off a shareholder challenge to hold onto his job as chief executive in a lively extraordinary general meeting yesterday.

However, rebel investor Worldview, the largest shareholder in the Dublin-based company who called the ballot to oust the chief executive, have pledged to formally challenge the results of the vote and  come back with a new set of proposals.

Five separate motions proposed by Worldview were defeated, with just over 61pc of shareholders siding with management over the motion to unseat Mr O’Cathain.

*The former  head of Tesco’s Irish arm, David Potts, is taking over as chief executive at embattled British supermarket chain Morrisons.

He replaces Wicklow native Dalton Philips, who was ousted from the Morrisons role last month as sales continued to struggle in a UK retail battlezone where Aldi and Lidl have made strong advances against traditional chains.

Mr Potts will join Morrisons on March 16 and is now tasked with returning the company to growth as it lags behind its  larger rivals Tesco, Wal-Mart’s Asda and Sainsbury’s.

Irish Examiner

*As many as 1,000 potential jobs in the film industry could be at risk after talks including a major studio stalled, the Irish Examiner reports.

Ardmore studios, which employs roughly 500 people at any one time at its base in Bray, has been in talks with Limerick City and County Council to take over a 340,000 sq ft building in Limerick once used by multinationals Wang and Dell.

The project was expected to create as many as 1,000 jobs. However, speaking to the Irish Examiner, Fianna Fáil Justice spokesman Niall Collins claimed that internal bickering in various government departments has resulted in progress on the project coming to a standstill.

*Glanbia is on the hunt for new acquisition opportunities in the coming year after posting a strong series of results which saw group revenues rise by 7.3pc.

The global food and ingredients group saw its profits for last year jump by more than 10pc to €161.2m while adjusted earnings per share rose 10.1pc.

Group managing director Siobhan Talbot said that the company would be interested in adding to their operations if strong acquisition opportunities are available in 2015. €250m of debt financing is available to the firm after its buy of US-based sports nutrition firm Isopure last year.

*Oil and gas explorer Providence Resources has announced that it is looking to raise around €28m in extra funding through share placements.

The company, headed up by Tony O’Reilly Jnr, plans to use  the money to cover general business and drilling costs as well as payments associated with a lawsuit taken against the firm.

The proposals will be put to shareholders to vote on at a special EGM on March 20. Shares in the the Dublin-based explorer were down by almost 13pc yesterday on the back of the announcement.

Financial Times

*Internet giant Google is to restructure its European business, combining its two European arms to meet the challenges of a more combative regulatory landscape on the continent, the Financial Times reports.

Matt Brittan, who previously headed up Google’s northern and western arm, will run the new single continental business which will unify its two separate European arms.

It will also train one million people in digital skills over the next two years and invest €25m to take its training programmes into new markets.

Irish Times

The European Commission has issued a report on Ireland warning that we need "decisive policy action" on a range of issues, despite the recovering economy.

The report warns that risks remain including the Irish Water model and that it may not be able to be kept off balance sheet.

A ruling in April will decide whether that is the case while the Commission also said that there are questions as to whether the utility will have the power to borrow on open markets.

It also said that we suffer from a digital skills gap, that there are high levels of public and private debt and high structural unemployment.

13 Irish people are  the subject of ongoing investigations arising from revelations into the Swiss bank HSBC, according to a letter seen by the Irish Times.

The letter, sent by Revenue chairman Niall Cody to the Dáil Committee of Public  Accounts, says that Revenue successfully asked for  the HSBC files  from French authorities five years ago after learning of their existence from media reports. He added that Swiss authorities refused a request for mutual legal assistance on November 2, 2012.

The Revenue initiated 33 investigations on the basis of the HSBC data, with a number of people here said to be part of an ongoing investigation. The paper reports that the amount involved in the accounts of a number of Irish people is $14.83m.

*Britain’s competition regulator could end up playing a vital role  in IAG’s €1.36bn bid for Aer Lingus, the newspaper also reports.

Ryanair is currently challenging a ruling from the UK Competition and Markets Authority that said that the  Dublin-based airline has  to cut its stake in Aer Lingus from just under 30pc to 5pc.

The regulator has decided  that Aer Lingus will have no say in any sale of Ryanair shares, and any formal offer by IAG for the airline will have to be referred to the CMA before a sale is allowed to proceed, the paper reports.

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