Sunday 18 August 2019

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

*The embattled president of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) resigned from his role as leader of the powerful lobby group last night, as it emerged farmers are gearing up for a court challenge over a €2m 'golden handshake' for the former general secretary.

The emergency meeting of the country's largest farm body heard the exit package for Pat Smith - including €1m up front - had been agreed by the former president, Eddie Downey.

Mr Downey, who earlier this week 'stepped back' from his €147,000-a-year role as a review into pay and corporate governance issues got under way, said his decision to permanently resign was a "difficult" one, but was taken in the best interests of the association he has served for 25 years.

*The head of the State's Budget watchdog has compared the Coalition's economic management this year to the worst period of the boom era.

Professor John McHale of the Fiscal Advisory Council said ministers "deviated from prudent economic and budget management" by signing off on €1.5bn more in spending than was originally included in Budget 2015.

This year's unplanned hike in spending did not breach European Budget rules, but Prof McHale said it was "very much against the spirit of the rules".

*Dunnes Stores has been blasted by the High Court for engaging in an "abuse of process" in trying to overturn retention permission granted by An Bord Pleanala for elements of the Ferrybank shopping centre in Kilkenny.

"If truth be told, they have nothing to do with planning law and everything to do with Dunnes securing advantage for itself in a long-running contractual dispute with Deerland and National Asset Loan Management," said Justice Max Barrett, who has dismissed the proceedings by Dunnes.

The retailer has consistently attempted to avoid its contractual obligation to open its anchor store at the Ferrybank in Kilkenny.

The Irish Times

*Investor John Teeling has said fellow shareholders in Aim-listed cold-storage company Norish should vote down a board fundrasing plan.

The share placing isn't open to all shareholders - meaning those left out will have their shareholdings diluted.

The company said most of the funding will go towards an expansion into Irish and American dairy farms.

*Estate agent Sherry Fitzgerald saw its profits soar on the back of the recovery in the property market.

Newly filed accounts show it made a pre-tax prfit of €2.9m last year, up from €100,000 a year before.

Turnover rose by almost 50pc, with the country's biggest estate agent taking in €31m.

*Low bond yields helped fuel a rise in the hole in pension schemes at some of Ireland's biggest companies.

AIB and Bank of Ireland had pension deficits of around €1bn, while CIE's deficit soared from €418m to €702m in a year.

Only one of the companies examined in the report by LCP Ireland - Kingspan - enough assets to meet liabilities.

Irish Examiner

*Credit unions are being prevented from using €8bn in surplus funds to help address the housing crisis, it was claimed.

Representatives from the sector told the Oireachtas finance committee that they were "bewildered" at what they said was a failure by the Government to listen.

They were also seeking to have pending regulation of the sector altered.

*Telecoms group Eir is open to making acquisitions but didn't comment on reports linking it to a takeover of broadcaster Setanta Sports.

Chief executive Richard Moat said there were no plans for an IPO or a sale of the Eir business, after the company posted a solid set of financial results.

He said he expects Eir will have low-single-digit earnings growth over the full financial year.

*Operating profits at the Irish arm of cigarette maker PJ Carroll jumped 40pc last year despite black-market competition.

The company's directors said the black market was a huge challenge but praised Gardai and Revenue for continuing to fight it.

They said it appears the black market may have been declining in 2014.

Online Editors

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