Business Irish

Tuesday 20 March 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

*Irish investors are more bullish about the state of the economy than at any time for at least the last five years, as  the recovery seems to gather steam.

According to a new report from RaboDirect, some 93pc of investors are optimistic about the state of the economy. That compares with 89pc in August and just 10pc back in 2010.

*The second-largest health insurer in the market is to cut prices on some plans and freeze the cost of others for two years.

Laya is reducing prices by up to 10pc on a small number of plans, the newspaper reported.

The move will put pressure on Laya's rivals, especially after a number of price rises announced recently by competitors Aviva and GloHealth.

*One of the world's biggest investment managers has sold shares worth nearly €20m in Kerry Group.

Blackrock sold more than 260,000 shares in the food giant earlier this month. With Kerry's share price hovering over €75, the share sale netted Blackrock some €19.9m.

The trade saw Blackrock's stake in the firm fall to 3.85pc from over 4pc. The company has retained nearly 6.8 million shares in the Irish business.

The Irish Times

*Leading economist Colm McCarthy has warned the Government that the National Broadband Plan could lead to higher prices for consumers.

He said the planned funding model for the scheme could give one or two major companies dominance in the sector, saying the proposal doesn't adequately address the possible consequences of letting telecoms companies be both retail providers and network owners.

*Retailers in Southern border towns say they are seeing an influx of shoppers from Northern Ireland.

Some said they are seeing a double-digit increase in Northern custom as shoppers seek to take advantage of the weak euro and intense price competition.

The trend contrasts with those of recent years, which have typically seen Southern shoppers more likely to head North.

*The increase in corporate tax receipts should be ringfenced for capital investment, employers' group Ibec said.

The group said a lack of investment could stifle the recovery. It said public investment should be lifted to 4pc of GDP from 2pc in the next fgive years.

Irish Examiner

*Long-awaited new guidelines on the distance wind turbines should be set back from homes may not be decided before the election.

Energy Minister Alex White told RTE that the guidelines would not be included in the forthcoming White Paper on Energy, but said he does not advocate any changes to the status quo. Environment Minister Alan Kelly has been facing pressure to allow communities to keep windfarms at a distance.

*Irish contruction firms' optimism is near a record high, with new business orders reaching a five-month peak last month.

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index - a health measurement for the sector - has shown increases in activity for the last 27 months.

Ulster Bank's chief economist for the Republic Simon Barry said optimism was at the third highest-level in 15 years of the survey's history.

*Chinese economic activity was higher than expected last month, with factory output the highest in five months.

The figures signal Beijing's stimulus measures may have put a floor on the economy's difficulties.

Factory output grew 6.2pc on an annual basis in November - beating expectations of 5.6pc.

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