What it says in the papers: business pages
Here are the main business stories from this morning's papers:
*There is growing alarm within the Cabinet that the political chaos in Northern Ireland will scupper the prospect of a 'soft Brexit
Sources at both Cabinet and official level warned that fresh elections in the North could lead to a prolonged period in which control is transferred back to Westminster.
*The tax take for last year reached a "historic high", Finance Minister Michael Noonan has revealed.
Income tax receipts were 0.9pc above target for the year, but VAT receipts were 3.4pc below target, with lower-than-expected inflation being partly blamed.
*More than 25 applications are being made every hour by first-time buyers (FTBs) hoping to avail of a Government scheme to help them buy a home.
Figures from the Revenue Commissioners show that 519 people have applied for a Government incentive to help them secure a deposit under the Help-to-Buy scheme since it was launched on Tuesday
*Senior executives and managers at former semi-state telco Eir are set to split a €181.6m windfall when the company refloats on the stock market or is sold
A big chunk of that money would be payable to ceo Richard Moat. He is overseeing a €1.2bn investment in Eir's network as the company sees itself morphing from a pure telco to a media firm.
The Irish Times
*The Government may face fresh pressure to increase public spending this year, as new figures show the State’s finances were boosted by a record tax take of €47.9 billion in 2016.
Economists now estimate that the budget shortfall for last year came to 0.7 per cent of the size of the economy, the lowest since the financial crisis began in 2008, compared with the Government’s official target of 0.9 per cent.
*Many officials of the US Federal Reserve said the central bank could be forced to lift rates higher than expected if Congress passes economy-boosting tax cuts in 2017, according to minutes of the Fed’s final policy meeting of 2016.
However, policymakers also stressed that it was too soon to jump to firm conclusions about what fiscal policy would actually look like.
*Bank of Ireland has acquired Dublin-based Covestone Asset Management for an undisclosed sum. The deal was signed four days before Christmas and is subject to approval from the Central Bank.
Covestone, which was founded by Donal Roche in 2008, has assets under management of close to €100 million, spread across about 150 investors.
*German discount retail giant Lidl has overcome opposition from an independent retailers’ body to secure planning for a new store at Greystones in Co Wicklow.
This follows An Bord Pleanála granting Lidl the go-ahead for the store in spite of opposition from business group RGDATA, a local school, and local councillor Derek Mitchell of Fine Gael.
*Samsung is likely to forecast its best quarterly profit in nearly three years, analysts said, with robust memory chip sales easing the pain of the costly failure of a flagship smartphone.
The South Korean firm discontinued sales of the Galaxy Note 7 phones after some of the devices caught fire, warning of a $2.1bn (€2bn) hit to its profit in the fourth quarter of 2016 due to expenses tied to an ongoing global recall and lost sales.
*Fuel forecourt retailer Applegreen is to pay €15.7m for a 50% stake in the Joint Fuels Terminal in Dublin port, which it says will allow it to import fuel directly from refineries.
The company, which employs 3,300 in 330 sites in Ireland, the UK and the US, announced that it has struck the agreement in the Joint Fuels Terminal with Topaz Energy Group, which it said will be funded from its own resources.