Saturday 17 August 2019

Eirgrid (GSOH), seeks friend

Fintan Slye, Chief Executive of Eirgrid. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/4/2014
Fintan Slye, Chief Executive of Eirgrid. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/4/2014

Poor Eirgrid is feeling unloved. The semi-state company, headed by Fintan Slye, below, is responsible for the maintenance and installation of the country's electricity transmission network, which benefits both consumers of and generators of power.

But it's realised that no one really knows what it does. That's despite plenty of publicity this year about its plans to stretch pylons across six counties as part of a transmission project. Eirgrid recently scrapped the plan.

"Research into our brand has indicated that stakeholders and the public don't fully understand what we do, nor appreciate the benefits our work brings to individuals, businesses and the wider community," it laments in a new document seeking tenders from plain English consultants.

"We have worked with experts in plain English to assist us in making our communications more accessible," it notes, adding that an in-house style guide has been introduced, as well as training for employees.

It wants the new consultant to continue the work and edit 12 major pieces of work a year, as well as some other, shorter items. No doubt some firm will charge dear for the service. "Eirgrid is considering the possibility of utilising an appropriate plain English accreditation mark to apply to selected documents," it adds.

Even death has its price

There's something terribly clinical about ratings agencies. No issue seems to be out of bounds: migrants, natural disasters, even terrorist attacks, they all get analysed.

Standard & Poor's has issued a report in the wake of the attacks in Paris in which it said a surge in terrorism, "Islamist or otherwise", is by itself unlikely to affect the sovereign ratings of Western European economies.

"That said, terrorism could gradually and indirectly hamper economic growth prospects in the region and have potential fiscal consequences for governments," S&P noted.

It is a reminder that in the midst of the events of last weekend, there are not only social consequences of such abominable acts, but also economic and financial fallouts. It can be argued that they are irrelevant for those affected by attacks, but can be an issue for the governments concerned.

Moritz Kraemer, Standard & Poor's sovereign global chief risk officer, said that repeated incidents could depress consumer and investor confidence, and weigh on sectors such as tourism, aviation, and leisure.

"Even in the absence of another attack, if growing border controls became a quasi-permanent feature this could heighten the costs of doing business," he added. "Less-permeable borders will impair economic integration and the growth of EU economies."

Diamonds lose shine for Teeling

JOHN Teeling is one of the great Irish entrepreneurs of our time. He has backed project after project, and when he sold his Cooley Distillery to Beam for €78m back in 2012, there was near universal goodwill towards him from within the business community.

Cut to this week however and his diamond company, Botswana Diamonds, is in a bit of bother. Yesterday he told investors that the firm's low share price was "difficult to accept and understand". Diamond prices are in freefall worldwide however.

The company then faced the news that a company not named Botswana Diamonds had found the biggest diamond in Botswana for 100 years.

In truth though, Mr Teeling's venture is a very small player in the business.

With a market cap of about £1.5m (€2.1m), Botswana Diamonds pales compared to the Canadian firm that discovered the huge rock yesterday. Lucara Diamonds is valued at €547m.

Irish Independent

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