Wednesday 17 January 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

The front page of this morning's Irish Independent business section
The front page of this morning's Irish Independent business section
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

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

Irish Independent

*A split has developed between the two ministers in the Department of Finance over the appointment of Professor Philip Lane as the new Central Bank governor.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin used yesterday’s Cabinet meeting to “put on the record” that he questioned the selection made by Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Mr Howlin told the meeting the Central Bank is now like a very large business and needs someone with vast managerial experience as well as a financial background.

However, Mr Howlin did not oppose the appointment of Prof Lane. The other final candidate for the role was Robert Watt, the secretary general of Mr Howlin's department.

*NAMA has written up the value of its assets for the first time since it was set up, as the agency prepares to wade deeper into house building.

In its half-year report, the state bad bank said it increased the value it has placed on its property and loans that it holds on its books.

The move is significant as it signals that Nama is confident that the value of the assets it still has will not fall further.

*Investors are holding off putting their money into new homes because of the Government's bumbling in the rental market, it has been claimed.

Rent control legislation was not included in the Budget last week, but Environment Minister Alan Kelly said there would be measures for "rent certainty" announced in the months ahead.

According to Goodbody chief economist Dermot O'Leary, investors are avoiding putting money into new homes until the issue is resolved either way.

The Irish Times

*A British investigation into the sale of Nama's Project Eagle appears to be focused on the purchaser side of the deal and not concerned about Nama's role, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said.

Mr Noonan said Nama bosses Brendan McDonagh and Frank Daly met the National Crime Agency (NCA) a number of weeks ago and understand that the NCA investigation is not concerned with Nama's role.

He said the Comptroller & Auditor General would review the deal and produce a report as soon as possible.

*Nama expects to start with next year with 165 debtors and €10bn owed to it in loans.

The objective depends on the agency selling Project Arrow - which has 340 debtors and loans with a par value of €7.2bn.

Nama had 663 debtors at the start of 2015.

*The Irish hospitality and manufacturing interests of the billionaire Liebherr family were boosted by the recovery.

Liebherr Container Cranes posted a 12pc sales rise - to €286m - and made a net profit of €5.7m.

Liebherr Construction Equipment more than trebled its profits to €600,000, while the family's Kerry hotels business saw sales at the hotels themselves rise by 10pc.

Irish Examiner

*Employees in nearly 75pc of Irish companies are set for a pay boost this year, according to an Ibec survey.

However, getting a raise depends on the sector in which you work. Pay hikes were most likely in large or hi-tech companies, but just 58pc of SMEs with fewer than 50 staff said they would lift pay.

*Bosses at the Irish arm of Jones Lang Lasalle got a 25pc increase in overall pay last year as profits and revenue soared.

The commercial property firm's directors shared a €3.9m pot - worth €325,000 apiece on average.

Pre-tax profits at the firm more than doubled last year - to €5.14m.

*The UK's launch of a new 50-year Government bond drew record demand.

It sold £4.7bn of the 2.5pc bond which drew orders of £21.9bn.

The previous record order was £16.5bn for a 30-year bond sold in June last year.

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