Sunday 20 May 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Here are the main business stories from this morning's papers:

Irish Independent

* Dublin Airport needs to invest in additional infrastructure if it's to continue being an effective hub, the chief executive of Aer Lingus owner IAG, Willie Walsh, has warned. But he cautioned that such development must be cost effective.

IAG acquired Aer Lingus last year for €1.36bn and is using Dublin as a hub for transatlantic travel, driving passenger volumes from the UK and other European cities through the capital. IAG also owns British Airways, and Spanish carriers Iberia and Vueling.

Dublin Airport, controlled by the DAA, is re-evaluating plans for a second runway. It's likely to be operational within five years or so.

* The head of AIB's Northern Ireland unit said he doesn't see the sell-off of parent company AIB as a threat to the business there.

First Trust chief Des Moore, from Wexford, said the unit is set to return to a "meaningful" profit for the last year, three years after he took over.

Job numbers have been cut by 40pc to 700 in that time and the branch network is down by more than a third, to 30 outlets across Northern Ireland.

* AIB and Bank of Ireland's weak asset quality is hindering their chances of getting a ratings upgrade, Fitch has warned.

The ratings giant said the "volatility" of Ireland's economic cycles and high private sector indebtedness are likely to constrain their ultimate rating levels.

And it also warned about that both banks could end up vulnerable to a shock on the commercial property front.

The Irish Times

* Earnings in the self-employed sector is growing at a fast rate than general wages are, according to data from the Central Statistics Office.

The data reveals that the self-employed sector is benefiting significantly from the recovery as the rate of savings also rises sharply.

The news comes after increased employment and a gradual rise in earnings helped an increase in tax receipts as well as a reduction in social welfare payments for the State.

* Ireland has topped a study into foreign direct investment in 109 states, however its ability to attract top international talent has wained.

According to the annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index Ireland ranked 16th for attracting skilled workers, slipping six places from 10th last year.

Head of Adecco, the company that conducts the index, Alex Fleming, said that while it represented Ireland's strength when it comes to FDI, the country is losing out by not investing more into skills and training.

* Three property businesses linked with Dunnes Stores filed losses in the year ending January 2015 according to new accounts filed in the companies office.

One of the three, Edward Lee and Co., which is a shopping centre-letting business, filed a loss of €876,654.

That compares to a deficit of €114,611 in the year previously, a substantial increase.

Irish Examiner

* Irish banks still have some way to go before they clean up their property loan books from the effect of the crash according to separate reports from the EU and Fitch Ratings.

In the EU report it recommended 'more effort' to reduce mortgage arrears and tackle non-performing loans.

Meanwhile, a second report carried out by Fitch Ratings said that non-performing loans could leave Irish banks susceptible to sever shocks.

* BVK, Germany's largest pension scheme group has an eye on Irish retail property as it plans a €1.3bn pan-European investment move.

The group has told re4al estate firm, Hines, to look at high street retail assets as it looks to move forward with its investment plans.

Hines is said to have highlighted Grafton Street and Henry Street as potential investment locations for BVK.

* Irish grocery spending reached a six-year high over the Christmas period as SuperValu maintained its position as Ireland's leading grocer.

According to new data from Kantrar Worldpanel, in the 12-week period ending January 3, the Irish grocery market grew by 3.5pc, the strongest performance in the period since 2009.

SuperValu now dominates 25.1pc of the Irish market, up from 24.7pc in the previous three-month period.

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