Friday 23 March 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

* Britain looks set to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to begin its exit from the European Union early next year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

The formal application to exit the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will officially begin Britain's separation from the union. Since the June 23 vote in the UK, any plan by the British government to trigger the exit has remained a mystery.

* Smurfit brothers Michael and Dermot are set for multi-million euro cash windfalls after US private equity giant Madison Dearborn agreed to buy Finnish packaging firm Powerflute for £268m (€314m).

Overall, the brothers will gain £65.58m from the deal. While executive chairman Dermot is directly invested in Powerflute, his brother, Michael, attained shares through his investment vehicle, Bacchantes.

* The European Commission has warned it will no longer support telecoms mergers similar to the €780m deal struck between 3 Ireland and O2 Ireland.

Criticising the practice of using 'virtual' operators as a facilitator, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said such deals may restrict competition.

The Irish Times

* The sale of Finnish paper and packaging firm looks set to land Smurfit brothers Michael and Dermot €77.2m in a cash windfall for their stake in the business.

Powerflute is to be bought by Chicago-based equity firm Madison Dearborn partners in what is a second attempt to secure control of the company.

* The owners of Dundrum Town Centre is looking to either develop or sell an adjoining six-acre site with original plans to turn it into further retail space waning.

According to a report in The Irish Times, Dundrum owners Hammerson is exploring the option of entering a joint-venture to develop the land, which may become an apartments-led scheme.

* Next month's budget will focus around getting Ireland ready for Britain's Exit from the European Union, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Mr Kenny was speaking at an event organised by employers' group Ibec, where he said the pension deficit would be under 1pc in 2016.

Irish Examiner

* Irish consumers are set to reap the rewards of an energy price war after Electric Ireland became the latest provider to cut its prices, this time by 5pc.

The cut is set to net consumers around €40 per year in savings.

* Irish exporters began to feel the pinch caused by Brexit in July as the value of goods exported fell by €1.15bn month on month.

On a seasonally adjusted basis exports slipped by 11.5pc to €8.92bn during the month with a number of analysts tipping Brexit for the fall.

* Finnish paper and packaging company Powerflute is to be sold for up to €315m after US equity firm Madison Dearborn reached an agreement for the business.

The deal for Powerflute is the second time Madison has come in for the company within a year after failing with a bid last December.

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