| 17.5°C Dublin

In brief

MORE than two-fifths of small and medium businesses in Ireland aren't getting paid on time, a survey has found.

As many as 20pc of firms claim that the problem is worse now than it was a year ago.

The findings come from the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that canvasses the opinion of SME owners and managers from a range of sectors across the UK and Ireland.

The survey also found that public sector companies are the most likely to make late payments.

French/Irish tie-up

InVivo, the largest agricultural co-operative group in France, and a leading player in the industry globally, has formally signed an agreement to acquire a 50pc stake in Life Scientific, an Irish R&D company which specialises in off-patent crop protection products.

The formal signing ceremony took place at an event organised by the Irish Embassy in Paris to mark St. Patrick's Day.

Peer-to-peer loan

Creative media education provider Pulse College, which sits within Windmill Lane Studios, is seeking a €60,000 loan on the online peer-to-peer website Linked Finance to expand.

Pulse College intends to use the loan to invest in cutting-edge film and gaming equipment and facilities for its students.

Greek repayment

Greece has repaid a loan to the IMF, further depleting cash reserves that risk running out this month unless a deal is reached with European partners.

Greece made the payment as scheduled. The country was due to pay back about €584m. The nation's central bank also said that its primary budget surplus narrowed to €503m in the first two months of the year, less than a third of the amount in the year-earlier period.

ECB bond buying

The European Central Bank (ECB) embarked on a new monetary-policy era by settling purchases of €9.75bn of public-sector debt last week.

The ECB announced on Twitter its first weekly statement showing buying of government and agency debt by the region's central banks, part of a stimulus plan to acquire €1.1 trillion of assets between this month and September next year.

Irish Independent