Business Irish

Sunday 17 December 2017

Business pages: what it says in the papers

Here are the business stories you need to know about this morning
Here are the business stories you need to know about this morning
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Here are the business stories you need to know about this morning:

Irish Independent

*The State took in over €500m more in tax than targeted in the first four months of the year, but VAT receipts were weaker than expected.

In addition, the tax take for April was weaker than expected  by €27m.

"This demonstrates the ongoing fragility of our economic recovery and reaffirms the need for the Government to be prudent with October's budget," Chambers Ireland communications director Mark O'Mahoney said.

Separately, the European Commission forecast that Ireland's economy will grow by 3.6pc - lower than the Government's projection but still enough to make this country joint fastest-growing in Europe.

*Swiss private jet business Execujet has been sold by owners including financier Dermot Desmond.

The buyers are Luxembourg-based Luxaviation, with the deal creating the world's second-largest business jet operator.

Mr Desmond bought a majority stake in the company just as the market for private jet usage peaked. However, it's rumoured that he is still making a profit on his investment.

*A mortgage strike and putting candidates up for election are ideas being considered by a new group set up to fight for lower standard variable mortgage rates.

The group is planning a mass meeting in Dublin this week and is also examining proposals to boycott ancillary bank products like insurance and credit cards.

Brendan Burgess, a consumer advocate who is pulling the group together, said he regards a mortgage strike as a bad idea as those refusing to pay would have their credit ratings damaged.

The Irish Times

*Ireland's three-year bankruptcy term is set to be cut by the end of the year after Finance Minister Michael Noonan said he wouldn't oppose the move.

The Labour Party has been seeking to have the term cut to one year.

Senior Labour sources said legislation will be introduced after the summer recess. The paper reports that the cut has been promised.

*The Irish ambassador to Britain told the Government that British financial institutions had made negative comments about dealing with the Central Bank of Ireland.

The British institutions felt the Bank was "overly aggressive" and unduly focused on minor infringements, briefing notes drawn up for Finance Minister Michael Noonan before last month's meeting with Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan show.

The notes said there was no evidence of how active the Bank had been in trying to get banks to cut standard variable mortgage rates.

*Irish-based pharmaceutical company EirGen has been bought for $135m by US pharmaceutical and diagnostics company Opko.

EirGen has around 100 staff and makes chemotherapy drugs.

Its chief executive Patsy Carney said the company wanted to move to "the next level".

Irish Examiner

*Irish companies risk being hit by big data breaches that could leave them facing large bills, according to a legal expert.

The English Court of Appeal held last week that individuals affected by a breach can sue for distress rather than having to prove financial loss.

Barrister Michael Vallely said the decision would have knock-on effects here and that it was only a matter of time before there is a big data breach in Ireland.

*Ryanair may beat passenger growth targets for the current financial year even though that year is only a month old, analysts said.

Figures released yesterday show April traffic at the airline jumped 16pc on last year.

"April's performance is already running well ahead of Ryanair's forecast...we may have to revise our passenger forecasts upwards," Goodbody analyst Mark Simpson said.

*Big companies have no appetite for a return of the Dublin to Cork air route.

DAA chief executive Kevin Toland said bringing the route back would require a €1.5m subsidy.

Cork Airport chief executive Niall MacCarthy said a €200m debt pile at the airport is having no impact on day-to-day operations, as the debt is on the balance sheet of the airport's parent company the DAA.

Cork Airport doesn't service the debt, which some have blamed for a decline in passenger numbers.

Financial Times

*The 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers earned more than $11.6bn last year combined, despite a mediocre performance for the industry.

However, pay has almost halved from the $21.5bn earned by the top 25 in 2013, when soaring stocks saw the big players pull in a combined amount similar to Jamaica's GDP.

Best paid was Ken Griffin - founder of the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel - who trousered $1.3bn.

*A 41pc month-on-month rise in the US trade deficit has fuelled concerns that the American economy shrunk in the first three months of this year.

The figures show that in March US exports rose less than 1pc, but imports grew 7.7pc due to increased demand for smartphones and cars.

Though increased consumer demand is a positive, the weak export numbers make it likely that sluggish growth figures for the first quarter will be revised downwards, with economists expecting a contraction.

The US trade deficit stood at $51.4bn at the end of March.

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