Thursday 22 February 2018

The Punt: Bookie's money back offer on SF

Gary McGann
Gary McGann Newsdesk Newsdesk

Sinn Féin's tax plans have some people worried about their take-home pay shrinking but there is one way in which the Shinners getting into power might actually help your pockets.

Boyle Sports is offering money back to punters as a free bet if Sinn Féin finds itself in Government after the election, and the coalition option backed by the punter fails.

But the bookie seems pretty confident that the offer will pay off. As of yesterday, the lowest price it was offering on Sinn Fein getting into government was 33/1.

The partner or partners? Fine Gael, of all people, on the one hand, and Fianna Fáil and Labour on the other.

A Fianna Fáil-Sinn Féin tie-up is at 40/1, as is Fianna Fáil/Sinn Féin/Social Democrats.

Bookies have left companies from other industries in the shade when it comes to marketing in recent times, and the Boyle Sports offer might attract a few extras into the shops as it finds itself competing with the newly consummated marriage of Paddy Power and Betfair.

When it comes to the election, the money is favouring another marriage that would have been unthinkable not so long ago.

"Punters are showing no signs of sliding away from a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition in the 32nd Dail with it now odds on at 5/6 that we will see a historic coalition occur," Boyle Sports' Liam Glynn said.

Gary McGann's Smurfit shares

Former Smurfit Kappa boss Gary McGann on Thursday got nearly 100,000 shares in the company he used to run under a bonus scheme dating back to 2011.

That's a wad worth more than €2m, based on that day's closing price of €22.48. As part of the same transaction, the Paddy Power chairman turned more than half into cash.

McGann who was the best-paid chief executive among Ireland's top listed companies in a 'Sunday Independent' study last year, is still a non-executive director of Smurfit Kappa, and is also chairman of Sicon - the holding company for the construction activities of the well-known Sisk group.

McGann (65) is seen as one of Ireland's top corporate heavyweights, and in this year's edition of the 'Sunday Independent's' rich list, he was ranked 295th, with a fortune of €32m. That was a €2m increase on the previous year and put him one place ahead of Mayo musical impresario Louis Walsh, and one place behind Glen Dimplex boss Sean O'Driscoll.

McGann is a former chief executive of Aer Lingus, which he left to join the Smurfit operation in 1998.

Saudi oilman's Stateside fun

The Punt is rather sad it won't be attending a certain conference in Houston this week.

Tomorrow's event will see Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali Al-Naimi - at whom many are pointing the finger for the collapse in oil prices - come face to face with what you would imagine are some rather peeved US producers.

The current global glut is killing US shale-oil firms, you see, and the announcement by Saudi Arabia and some other major producers that they would freeze production at current levels hasn't really provided much succour. Al-Naimi has claimed Opec's 2014 decision to keep pumping despite oversupply was about retaining market share - not killing off certain countries or companies in oil production terms. Irish companies will be watching closely, with shareholder value at the likes of Providence and Tullow getting hammered in the current environment.

But even if a decision to cut production is eventually reached, it might take a while for the results to filter through to companies' bottom lines, because there's still a lot of oil stored.

"If Opec does agree on something, or if the supply side fails to meet the demand side, it'll still take a bit of time to work out of the system," Tullow's Aidan Heavey said.

Irish Independent

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