Monday 23 April 2018

The Punt: Stockbrokers' sneaky holiday

Deirdre Somers, chief executive of the Irish Stock Exchange
Deirdre Somers, chief executive of the Irish Stock Exchange

Activity on the Irish Stock Exchange yesterday proved a useful reminder of how integrated the British and Irish economies really are.

Yesterday was a bank holiday in Britain, not here, but as late as 11am not a single regulatory announcement had been issued through the Irish Stock Exchange. By the same time on Friday around 35 so-called regulatory news service (RNS) notices had been issued.

RNS notices are information updates that companies and shareholders must provide to investors, who rely on the information to trade.

By yesterday afternoon a trickle of announcements did hit the exchange, led by chief executive Deidre Somers, below, but just six in 10 in all compared to almost 140 the previous Monday, and none of them earth shattering.

The fall-off in financial activity was equally stark. Less than €40m was traded in Dublin yesterday, down from €311m on the same day last week.

If it is anything to go by, the notion that we'd tootle along undiminished, or even enhanced, by a UK withdrawal from the European Union should be taken with a big dose of salt.

Tourism bosses straight to point

Talk about capitalising on an opportunity. For many, Ireland was seen on Saturday as a beacon of equality and an example to other jurisdictions after it overwhelmingly backed same sex marriage.

Romantic Ireland, and all that.

But we showed that we're masters at marketing also.

Wasting no time, on Sunday night, Tourism Ireland put out a press release highlighting it would now be kicking off a big campaign showcasing Ireland around the world as a destination for gay weddings.

Under the slogan "Ireland says I do", the tourism body said the campaign was being rolled out in nine markets - including Britain, the United States, Canada, the Nordic region, Australia, France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

It includes advertising on Facebook directing people to a specially-created section on Tourism Ireland's website which is highlighting great wedding venues and "dreamily romantic locations to tie the knot".

And to top it all off, it produced a short video to go with it.

Soon Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be talking up Ireland as the best small country in which to have a gay wedding.

ESB's uphill push for ecars

According to the Central Statistics Office, just 222 electric cars were sold in Ireland last year compared to the more than 61,000 petrol and diesel cars that were snapped up by consumers. And that's even with a subsidy of up to €5,000 available from the Sustainable Energy Authority when buying an electric car, and no VRT.

And while hybrid cars have had some not insubstantial success, the penetration of electric-only cars to the market will undoubtedly take many, many years.

The semi-state company has just issued a pre-qualification questionnaire for firms interested in installing electric car charging points in the homes of owners.

"Based on historic demand it is anticipated that up to approximately 1,500 charge point installations will be completed during the course of a three year contract term," it notes.

There's a Government target of having 10pc (about 230,000) of all vehicles in Ireland by 2020 being electric. It seems hugely ambitious, especially given the falling cost of oil.

The ESB has committed to providing free domestic charging points to the first 2,000 owners of electric cars. Even that won't be enough to spur demand.

Irish Independent

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