Tuesday 19 November 2019

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

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

Irish Independent

***The Government has appointed a retired High Court judge to assist in the review into deals at the under-fire Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

Judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill will be tasked with responding to any potential conflicts of interest that arise throughout the review by IBRC liquidator KPMG.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced Judge O’Neill’s appointment as the terms of reference for the review were announced. The investigation is to examine all deals done by the former Anglo Irish Bank between its nationalisation in January 2009 and its liquidation in February 2013.

***Small shareholders in Permanent TSB have three weeks to decide whether to reinvest in the bank on the same terms as so-called institutional investors who bought €500m of the stock yesterday.

The Government recouped €500m of the €2.7bn cost of bailing out Permanent TSB yesterday through a series of interconnected finance deals, including a sale of bonds and new Permanent TSB shares. The cash will go to reduce the national debt.  

The sale of a quarter of the bank on the stock market was effectively a reflotation of the nationalised bank.

***Irish oil and gas exploration firm Petroceltic is aiming to break ground on its $2bn Algerian project by the end of the year after awarding a multi-million drilling rig contract.

Petroceltic is the operator of the licence for the Ain Tsila gas field and is to oversee the estimated $2bn expenditure on the scheme, the cost of which is to be split between the three project partners.

The company announced yesterday that it has awarded a contract for the provision of a drilling rig at the field to China’s Sinopec International Petroleum Service.

Industry sources estimate that the contract is worth more than $35m.

Irish Times

***The Government is setting out plans for over €600m in tax concessions to be available over the next three years in today’s Spring economic statement, the Irish Times reports.

According to the newspaper, the Coalition will set out plans to cut income tax, boost employment and get rid of the deficit in public finances by 2018.

The five year plan will also reveal the reopening of talks with public sector unions on the issue of pay increases.

***Developer Paddy McKillen has sold his stake in three luxury London hotels to a Quatar-based hotel group.

Constellation Hotels has acquired the 36pc equity interest held by Paddy McKillen in the Maybourne Group, the owner and operator of the Claridges, Connaught and Berkeley Hotels. According to an agreement between them, Paddy McKillen will continue to lead, direct and develop these assets.

***Finance Minister Michael Noonan is to haul in the six major lenders in the Irish marketplace and ask them to reduce their mortgage interest rates.

Speaking in Limerick yesterday he said: “I’m calling in the senior management of the six major lenders in the mortgage market in Ireland and I’ll present them with the evidence from the Central Bank and I’ll say, ‘look, we think we should reduce your interest rates and we want to discuss it.’”

Mr Noonan made his comments in the wake of a report from ratings agency Fitch that found that said that the Central Bank’s new mortgage lending rules are likely to only have a “limited impact” on the economic recovery.

Irish Examiner

***The European Commission has agreed to row back on strict European fiscal rules that would have limited the Government’s scope for tax cuts in the October’s budget.

The formal acknowledgement by Economic and Finance Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovi came as a written reply in response to MEP Brian Hayes.

The move allows Finance Minister Michael Noonan an additional €1.5bn for tax cuts and spending increases.

***CRH finance director Maeve Carton – one of Ireland’s most powerful female executives – is to spearhead a mission to ensure the building materials giant is in good condition as it nears the acquisition of €6.5bn worth of assets from Lafarge and Holcim as part of their upcoming merger.

CRH said that Ms Carton, who joined the company in 1988, will become its group transformational director, helping to integrate the business and identify operational and financial savings.

Ms Carton, who took over the finance director position in 2010, will be responsible for integrating CRH’s businesses and identifying opportunities to save money. She will remain a member of the company’s executive board.

***Packaging giant Ardagh Group saw its first quarter revenues increase by almost 25pc year-on-year to about €1.2bn.

The Luxembourg-based company, which traces its roots to Irish Glass, posted a pre-tax profit of €6m compared to a €14m loss for the same period the year before.

After income tax the group. which is readying metal container arm for a €2bn-€3bn IPO, posted a loss of €10m for the quarter.

Online Editors

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