Thursday 18 January 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Here are the main business stories from today's papers:

Irish Independent

* Apple has set its sights on the sub-premium market with its new four-inch handset, the iPhone SE.

The SE was launched at Apple's 'Loop You In' event in California yesterday and is the world's fastest four-inch phone boasting an A9 processor chip.

The 16GB version of the phone has a €500 price tag while the 64GB edition has been priced at €600. It is expected to go on sale in Ireland in early April.

* A vote for a British withdrawal from the European Union would hit confidence and growth across the EU, with the fallout felt by Ireland in particular, Moody's Investor Service has warned.

The New York-headquartered agency said some sectors could relocate to Ireland or other countries from the UK, but it said any gains to those countries would be small and gradual.

Sterling was hit yesterday on concerns that divisions within the Conservative Party may be deepening in the wake of the resignation of UK Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who is backing the leave campaign, amid a row over last week's budget. One euro is worth around 78 pence, up from 69 pence in July of last year.

* BREXIT could result in a €6bn boost to the level of foreign direct investment into Ireland, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has said.

In an investor update, the State's debt management agency said foreign firms in the UK could consider relocating.

"This may be especially pertinent for firms who use the UK as a base for its EU operations," the NTMA note said. "Ireland could be a beneficiary from this displaced FDI. Estimates suggest some €6bn of FDI might be attracted to Ireland in the case of a Brexit."

The Irish Times

* Frank Keane is to become the sole trader of Volkswagen sales and services in South Dublin, replacing MSL Motor Group.

Responsibility for sales and services in south Dublin will transfer over to Keane from May 1 with the move pending approval from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

According to a report in The Irish Times, MSL Group did not sign up to the new investment plans that were required by Volkswagen when it advertised for a south Dublin dealer.

* Building materials firm CRH may be lining up a move for LafargeHolcim's Indian unit, which is valued at $1.5bn.

The company spent €6.5bn on assets from Lafarge and Holcim before they merged.

According to a report in The Irish Times, KKR and Blackstone are also said to be interested in the Indian unit.

* A reduction in the rate of VAT down to 9pc will help stimulate house building and reduce homelessness according to lobby group Property Industry Ireland.

In a policy submission to Government the group has also asked for a minister for housing, infrastructure, and planning.

The PII says the volume of houses built over the course of 2017 and 2018 will be decided by the next Government's first 100 days.]

Irish Examiner

* Sales of properties associated with the receivership of Treasury Holdings's main Spencer Dock firm have soared five-fold with receivers banking €4.2m from the sale of 11 properties since last July.

The €4.27m realised from the sale of property on behalf of receivers David Hughes and Luke Charleton of EY during the period, compared to sales of €785,093 in the prior six-month period.

The prices secured for the properties developed by Spencer Dock Development Company Ltd reflect the buoyant property market in Dublin.

* Sticking with CRH and the Irish Examiner says the firm is not expected to by more assets being disposed by European cement giant, LafargeHolcim.

Last week LafargeHolcim said it had made significant progress towards its €3.2bn target.

Contrary to The Irish Times, the Examiner suggests that CRH won't be making a move for Lafarge India, which is being sold in its entirety.

* Ireland's economy is the most vulnerable to a British exit from the EU, according to new research by Oxford Economics.

The research shows that Ireland's growth rate could potentially be hit by 2.2pc as a result of the exit.

The Irish economy is forecast to grow this year by 4.8pc and 4.1pc in 2017.

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