Friday 23 March 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

* Enterprise Ireland (EI) is planning to lead at least 20 healthcare firms on a scoping visit to Iran in May in the agency's first market mission to the country since trade sanctions were lifted last month, the Irish Independent has learned.

Iran emerged from years of economic isolation when world powers lifted crippling sanctions against the Islamic Republic in return for Tehran complying with a deal to curb its nuclear ambitions.

It's hoped that global companies that have been barred from doing business there will be able to tap into the market of almost 80 million people.

* The State has seen €470m wiped off the value of its stake in Bank of Ireland since the group's shares touched 39 cent in early 2014, as the bank's stock continues to slide.

The taxpayers' 14pc holding in the bank now has a market value of €1.29bn, compared to the €1.76bn it was worth in 2014. It was also worth close to that higher amount last year.

Bank of Ireland shares have fallen about 15pc since the beginning of 2016, declining to just over 28 cent each yesterday. That's 27pc lower than the 39 cent they were trading at in early 2014, just as US billionaire Wilbur Ross started offloading his holding in the group. They were also changing hands at over 38 cent each last March.

* Oil giant Shell injected €70m into its Irish unit that's behind the Corrib gas project in recent months as the field prepared to begin delivering gas, new filings show.

The Corrib gas field is located 83km off Ireland's west coast in depths of almost 350 metres.

Gas began flowing from the field only in the past few weeks - 11 years behind schedule.

The Irish Times

* The Irish telecoms watchdog, ComReg, has been criticised by Eir's rival firms for taking to long to adjudicate on complaints filed against the former semi-state company.

Complaints of discrimination against other networks by Eir have been filed to ComReg and despite Eir admitting to not providing equal access to its network to other companies, ComReg still hasn't ruled on the matter.

A compliance update is due to be filed by Eir by the end of March, which is expected to detail the company's progress in complying with regulations.

* Vodafone has denied speculation that shareholders would lose out more under its low-cost dealing option than it would if they had used an online option that was previously available to them.

On Wednesday Vodafone announced a new scheme that would allow shareholders sell off their shares through a low-cost option.

Under the option shareholders with 50 shares or less could sell at no commission.

* Small and medium enterprises are finding it difficult to recruit the best available talent due to growing competition from multi-nationals.

That's according to a new survey conducted by Hays Ireland and ISME.

The survey shows that 38pc of SMEs could hold their own against larger firms in Ireland.

Irish Examiner

* A Brexit could have a 'huge impact' on large firms' ambitions to set up a base in the North once the corporation tax is cut.

According to Neil Gibson, director of the Economic Policy Centre, a Brexit would create added complexity and could slow investment in the North.

Mr Gibson said that the consequences would weigh on traders' intentions in the short term.

* Clydesdale Bank shares rose by 2.4pc on its London debut yesterday, valuing the British lender at around £1.62bn (€2.14bn).

The bank, which is currently headed up by former AIB boss, David Duffy, saw its shares priced towards the lower of a 175p to 235p indicative range.

The performance of the bank was particularly poignant for investors here as the possibility of an AIB IPO gains momentum.

* One51, the plastics and environmental group, has purchased UK-based industrial services firm, H&T Labour and Vacumation Services for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will expand One51's Clear Circle Environmental, which will subsume H&T.

One51's acquisition follows on from its takeover of Greenway Environmental in September.

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