Here are the main business stories this morning:
***Self-employed workers, family business owners and farmers will be automatically entitled to social welfare payments if they become unemployed, under Fine Gael plans to boost small businesses.
The higher rate of USC paid by business owners will also be reduced and brought in line with PAYE workers, under a raft of pro-business measures being examined by the party.
A return of tax rebates towards redundancy costs for businesses forced to lay off staff are also on the table in proposals being discussed by a working group established by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
***The Irishman who heads up Australian airline Qantas believes that IAG should be allowed to buy Aer Lingus.
Alan Joyce, a former Aer Lingus employee who was once approached to be the Irish airline’s chief executive, said he’s in favour of consolidation in the airline industry. He hopes that the “right conclusions” are arrived at by the Government in relation to the future of Aer Lingus.
The support from the leader of one of the world’s most high-profile airlines comes just a week after Virgin Atlantic, founded by Richard Branson, said it has concerns about the planned takeover and how it would impact consumers.
***Two-thirds of bad loans in Ireland relate to commercial lending, including property-related debt involving small and medium enterprises.
Of those, one third have a poor prospect of being recovered. The stark figures were set out by financial regulator Cyril Roux yesterday, laying bare the difficulties facing many businesses.
At the Chartered Accountants Ireland Leinster Society lunch, Mr Roux said most of the public attention has focused on bad mortgage loans despite it being a smaller share of the overall amount of distressed loans.
***Colm Lyons and his wife Niamh could pocket as much as €90m between them for the sale of their online payments company Realex.
The Irish company, which employs 170 people in Dublin, London and Paris, has been sold for €115m to a US rival, Global Payments.
Mr Lyons and his wife Niamh own just over 80pc of the business between them and are set to benefit from the vast majority of the €115m payout.
***The International Monetary Fund has warned the Government that it should keep a tight rein on public sector pay.
The intervention by the Washington-based fund comes as the Government is set to meet with union representative workers to discuss possible pay rises after it has had a chance to look at first quarter exchequer figures.
In its latest assessment of Ireland’s economy, the IMF said: ““The expiry of the Haddington Road Agreement in 2016 will lead to pressures for some reversal of past savings that were key to Ireland’s consolidation to date. There are risks that these pressures impede progress to fiscal balance: any developments on future public sector wage arrangements must recognise the very tight fiscal constraints in coming years.”
**Internet giant Yahoo could expand its Irish workforce to 450 in the coming years as it opened a new Dublin docklands office.
The firm has invested just under €11m in its new 78,000 sq ft offices at Point Village which now houses Yahoo’s 320 Irish staff. The building has room for an additional 130 employees.
Pat Scully, the managing director of Yahoo EMEA, said that the company is also looking at possibly leasing a data centre in Dublin.
**Shares in Irish medical investments firm Malin rose by 6pc yesterday as its first day’s trading on the ESM, the Irish Stock Exchange’s junior market, came to a close.
Malin, set up by a number of executives from Irish drugmaker Elan to act as a startup incubator to develop life science companies, closed at €10.60 per share after opening at €10 and trading as high as €10.77.
The Dublin-based company’s IPO was one of the biggest biotech floats in Europe in recent years, just beating its target range of €275m-€325m to raise €330m.
***Tesco Ireland’s chief executive Philip J Clarke is to hand over the task of revitalising the supermarket giant’s fortunes in Ireland as he retires after two years in his current position.
He will be replaced by Andrew Yaxley who is currently the managing director of Tesco’s London business. Mr Clarke, a Tesco veteran who has been with the company for more than four decades, was appointed to replace the long-serving head of the Irish business Tony Keohane in July 2013.
Mr Yaxley comes into Tesco’s Irish operations at its position as the largest retailer in the country has come under increased pressure. The latest industry figures show that rival chain SuperValu is breathing down the British retailer’s neck, with a market share of 24.9pc compared to Tesco’s 25pc.