Friday 19 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

*The boss of AIB has defended the bank's move to offer loans of up to €30,000 to football fans going to the Euros in France.

CEO Bernard Byrne said that only those able to meet the repayments would get the loans, with most borrowers set to take out small amounts.

The bank has been accused of reckless lending because it is offering three-hour approvals and drawdowns of loans of up to €30,000 to fans attending Euro 2016 in the summer.

Mr Byrne denied his bank was being irresponsible: "It's a very poor reading of what we're doing."

*Irish telecoms firm Imagine Communications will spend about €200m over the next five years rolling out a high-speed broadband network incorporating wireless technology, the newspaper has learned.

Imagine has secured €50m in financial backing from an international infrastructure fund for the deployment.

Imagine - whose shareholders include NTR and Kilsaran Concrete - also has new backers, with a consortium of French investors having injected €2.6m of equity into the Irish company. Imagine's €31.6m net debt at the end of 2014 has also been cut by €5.1m under an agreement.

*The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has backed Finance Minister Michael Noonan in forecasting the surge in corporation tax is set to continue next year.

The Government had collected around €3bn more in taxes than expected by the end of November, with the vast bulk of that over performance coming from corporation tax.

Economists - including the Fiscal Advisory Council - have expressed concern claiming it's not clear what's behind the surge.

The Irish Times

*Finance Minister Michael Noonan said fully privatising AIB could take a decade but he was confident the bank would repay the €21bn of taxpayers' money used to bail it out.

He said the process may stretch longer than a decade depending on the circumstances but that the overall objective was to maximise the return for the State.

He said he would immediately "press the button" on an IPO of the bank if returned to Government after the election.

*Outgoing AIB director of corporate and institutional banking Fergus Murphy is to team up with the bank's former chief executive David Duffy at Clydesdale Bank.

Mr Murphy will start at Clydesdale early next year subject to regulatory clearance. Mr Murphy - who had been among the rumoured candidates to replace Mr Duffy - is the third former AIB banker to move to Clydesdale in 2015.

*Paddy Power's merger with Betfair is a step closer after receiving regulatory approval from one of two competition authorities that have to clear it.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority cleared the deal, with the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission's approval also needed.

Shareholders in both companies will vote on the merger on Monday.

Irish Examiner

*Tech firm Newsweaver is to create 60 new jobs in Cork over the next two years.

The company, which provides internal communications services for companies including Kellogg's and Vodafone, said it will concentrate on R&D jobs during the process.

It aims to grow its customer bases and expand across Ireland and the US.

*Oil fell as much as 2pc yesterday, with Brent crude near 11-year lows, with data showing new build-ups of supply at the delivery point for US crude futures.

One analyst said bearish fundamentals are hanging over the market like storm clouds, with no break in sight.

Opec added to bearish sentiment yesterday, saying there was little chance of a meaningful price rise next year.

*There are no easy fixes to the State pension system, which is unsustainable, a Society of Actuaries-commissioned report found.

The report said any potential solutions would cause political dilemmas, but cutting the amount paid or increasing the retirement age may nevertheless be needed.

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