Wednesday 22 November 2017

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

Here are the main business stories from this morning's papers:

Irish Independent

***Further strike action looms at Dunnes Stores outlets around the country after 6,000 workers took to the pickets as part of one of the largest private industry work stoppages in modern times.

The company is understood to have lost millions of euro in revenue yesterday, with the increased alcohol sales traditionally making Holy Thursday one of the retail chain’s most profitable periods.

Pickets were placed on around 100 stores in a dispute over low-hour contracts, job security and worker representation.

***An agreement allowing Aer Lingus passengers to connect on to long-haul Virgin Atlantic routes could disappear if an IAG bid is sealed, Virgin has warned.

Virgin Atlantic, the carrier founded by Richard Branson, has intervened in the row over whether the Government should offload its 25pc stake, insisting that Irish consumers will lose out if the sale proceeds without adequate assurances.

A senior representative of the carrier also admitted to TDs and senators that Virgin’s business could be dented by a deal. And it signalled it would have no interest on introducing any routes from Ireland if Aer Lingus was sold to IAG.

***Irish renewable energy company Gaelectric has spent an estimated €20m-€30m buying a large windfarm in Co Kerry as it goes on a spree of acquisitions.

The 46 MW wind energy facility is located at Cloughboola. Based on estimates from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, it could potentially power almost 30,000 homes.

The project comprises 16 turbines, each with a maximum 3 MW generation capacity.

Irish Times

***The tax take for the first three months of the year is more than half a billion euro ahead of target, the latest Exchequer returns show.

The State had collected €10.47bn in tax by the end of March, €545m or 5.5pc better than expected. The Irish Times reports that the strong figures have fuelled hopes in the business community that there could be increased scope for tax cuts in the upcoming budget.

***The solutions proposed for nearly half of distressed borrowers involves them losing their homes, according to new figures from the Central Bank.

The solution proposed by banks for almost 50,000 cases of those in mortgage arrears for more than 90 days involves the potential “loss of ownership” for the borrowers.

Of these cases, just over 30,000 relate to owner-occupied mortgage.

***A Fine Gael councillor who helped get large parts of the Quinn group under local control may run in the upcoming general election, the Irish Times reports.

Councillor John McCartin is the chairman of QBRC, which is formerly known as the Quinn Business Retention Company. It was the entity which took control of the business interests of the former Quinn Group in the wake of its assets being seized in 2011.

The Irish Times reports that Mr McCartain has been asked by his party if he would consider running to be a TD. He told the newspaper he has not yet decided if he will run to be a TD and said:: “Just because you have been asked to make yourself available doesn’t mean you will be chosen.”

Irish Examiner

***Warnings that the property market could be heading for another bubble have been made to the Banking Inquiry.

The cost of office accommodation in Dublin is reaching an “unsustainable” level, said John Moran, director of Jones Lang LaSalle estate agents.

He agreed with the chairman of the Banking Inquiry, Ciaran Lynch, that this was a “warning light flashing at the moment”. Mr Moran said he was quite concerned that we “could be getting” to a bubble stage.

***A US investment firm has teamed up with Nama to build a major €200m development in the heart of Dublin’s docklands.

Kennedy Wilson yesterday applied for planning permission to build 313,000 sq ft of office space and 204 apartments at the “Capital Docks” site on John Rogerson’s Quay, close to the East Link Bridge and opposite the 3 Arena.

The €200m development includes plans for three office blocks and two apartment buildings including one that will be 19 floors, or 66m tall. That would make it the tallest residential building in Dublin.

***Irish company Xanadu has landed a multi-million euro contract to “future-proof” one of the world’s leading online betting exchanges, the Irish Examiner reports.

The €2.5m contract will see the Cork-based gaming technology firm amplify the platform at’s betting exchange, making it faster and more efficient.

A spokesperson for the site said: “We want to future-proof the trading platform so that as an activity on the site scales [up] due to the exchange’s popularity, can continue to provide a resiliant and reliable exchange.”

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