Business Irish

Saturday 24 February 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

*Exploration minnows - long a feature of the Irish and UK markets  - could flourish as oil majors slash exploration budgets and focus on existing assets, the chief executive of Tullow Oil, Aidan Heavey has predicted.

With the price of oil having slumped, major oil companies are hacking away at costs in order to preserve their balance sheets, and one of the first casualties has been exploration spending budgets.

Mr Heavey was speaking as Tullow Oil reported a pre-tax loss of $1.3bn for 2015, which was narrower than the $2.04bn loss it reported in 2014. Its revenue fell 27pc to $1.6bn. Shares in the company fell 8pc in London. They're at about a tenth of the level they were back in 2012.

*DAA boss Kevin Toland, businessman Greg Sparks, and the chief executive of Dawn Farm Foods, Larry Murrin, are among those who've invested over €500,000 in the Dublin Whiskey Distillery Company as they hope to capitalise on the surge in interest in the sector.

Founded by former Diageo and Glanbia executive Lorcan Rossi, Dublin Whiskey Distillery is still plotting its strategy, including whether or not it will actually own a distillery.

Mr Rossi, who was finance director with Glanbia for six years until 2014, said he's in talks with a number of third parties in relation to various options. "Owning a distillery is not a prerequisite for making a great whiskey," he said.

*Fitch's upgrade of Ireland's credit rating does not automatically mean Irish banks will get one as well, the ratings agency said.

The banks' asset quality is a hindrance to an upgrade in the short-term, Fitch said.

"Working through the €30bn backlog of impaired loans will take time. In the meantime, this vulnerability constrains their fundamental creditworthiness," Fitch added.

The Irish Times

*Fed boss Janet Yellen has told the US Congress that persistent turbulence on the markets could slow the US economy's growth and the pace of hiring.

The comments suggest the Fed is unlikely to increase interest rates again soon.

She said the US economy had continued to progress but said financial conditions had become less conducive to growth.

*Around 100 jobs at the Dublin operations of car rental company Hertz are under threat due to a restructuring plan.

Hertz said it is launching a "modernisation" initiative and that some finance administration jobs at Swords in Co Dublin could be outsourced.

The company didn't say how many jobs are under threat but the newspaper reports that Hertz is believed to be planning to cut over a tenth of its Irish workforce.

*Twitter's user growth stalled in the last three months of 2015.

Posting 320 million average monthly active users, it was the social media site's first flat quarter of user growth since it floated.

Chief executive Jack Dorsey has launched a number of initiatives to try and make the site more accessible.

Irish Examiner

*Heineken and Carlsberg are forecasting bigger profits this year as weak demand in Russia and Africa is offset by rising demand in Vietnam and south-east Asia.

Separately, last year Heineken grew it share of the Irish cider market to 5.4pc, boosted by its new Orchard Thieves brand.

Heineken Ireland boss Maggie Timoney said 2015 was a record year for market share growth.

*The company behind the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Ireland fell into the red last year.

The swing to a loss came after exceptional costs relating to a loss on a fixed asset and a write-off on an inter-company loan.

The firm had pre-tax losses of €8.76m in the 15 months to the end of March 2014.

*Deutsche Bank shares rose the most in nearly seven years on a report that the bank is considering a bond buyback to appease investor concerns.

The bank has the cash for the purchases but hasn't made a decision yet, Bloomberg reported a person with knowledge of the matter as saying.

Deutsche Bank has lost around a third of its market value this year.

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