What it says in the papers: Business edition
HERE are the business stories you need to know about this morning:
*Irish hotel occupancy has returned to pre-crash levels, fuelled by a big rise in visitors from the US and Canada.
An extra 500,00 visitors helped to push the occupancy rate for hotels and guesthouses to 64pc in 2014, the highest level since 2007.
*Dublin office rents will climb by nearly a third between now and the end of next year, according to a new report by property group HWBC.
That follows a 30pc rise last year.
The growth will be fuelled by the fact that no new offices have been built in the past five years, and there will be no significant completions until well into next year, HWBC said.
*Businesses whose lender is leaving Ireland will have access to state-guaranteed refinancing loans under the Government’s credit guarantee scheme.
Up until now, the scheme was only available for new loans, not refinancings.
The scheme was designed for business refused loans by banks.
“Thousands of people in the SME community have been affected by the exit of some foreign banks from the business credit market here,” Business minister Ged Nash said.
“The problem arises when these SMEs seek refinancing loans, often with relatively short timeframes, and are not able to meet the minimum stake requirements of the remaining banks.”
The Irish Times
*Shareholders in technology company Altobridge are still angry over the appointment of a receiver to the company last year, saying questions remain over the decision.
Altobridge co-founder Bart Kane said a number of shareholders think there wasn’t enough transparency.
Some shareholders criticised the move because they thought the company’s intellectual property was valuable, and that the decision to appoint a receiver because of money owed may not have been justified.
*Dublin City Council is seeking partners to help build a major new housing development.
It has advertised three large sites encompassing more than 30 hectares.
The council has signalled that the homes, a mixture of social and private housing, would be put on the rental market.
*Concerns about plans for the historic Boland’s Mill site in Dublin’s Docklands have been expressed by city planning authorities.
The authorities have asked receivers acting on Nama’s behalf to reconsider the plans, which include building offices and a 15-storey apartment block, because of fears about the “architectural quality” of the apartment building.
Supposed problems with the placing of windows and the profile of the roof were flagged.
*A Dublin biopharma company is launching trials to see if one of its treatments could be effective against some cancers.
Opsona Therapeutics’ drugs aim to block a protein that rejects foreign organisms in the body.
The Irish Examiner
*The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has filed a lawsuit against two firms involved in the construction of the terminal at Cork Airport – which the DAA controls.
The lawsuit is based on an alleged breach of contract and the ‘Examiner’ understands it relates to structural problems with the building’s roof.
Last year storms caused damaged to the roof and forced authorities to close the building.
The DAA and the firms involved – BAM Contractors and Jacobs Engineering – declined to comment.
*Mussel producers who had to stop harvesting because of toxins in the water should be compensated under an EU scheme, Cork TD Noel Harrington told the Dail.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said he was aware of the issue but that harvesting suspensions were not unusual and companies know they are a business risk.