What it says in the papers: business pages
HERE are the main business stories from this morning's papers:
Senior Government sources last night confirmed that the Cabinet would be given a chance to decide on the State’s 25.1pc stake in the former national carrier only when rival airline Ryanair had made its intentions known.
Six months after the British group made its first bid a decision to sell the State’s holding in the airline has still not been reached.
***CRH has defended its bagged cement business after confirming it had been searched by the State’s competition watchdog as part of an investigation into the Irish cement industry.
The Meath office of Irish Cement, a division of Ireland’s biggest company, was searched last Thursday, the company confirmed.
A number of premises in the bagged cement sector were searched with garda support, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said, though it is not yet clear which other companies were involved. The organisation can take action against competition law breaches through the High Court.
***The Irish Exporters Association has called on Government to put contingency plans in place in case Britain opts to leave the EU.
The Association’s chief executive made the plea following the UK’s re-election of a Conservative government, which promised British voters a referendum on leaving the EU.
“It is of vital importance that the Government start to develop a plan to prepare for the possibility of a so-called ‘Brexit’. It may not happen but it is of critical national importance that we are prepared for the possibility.” said Simon McKeever, CEO of the association.
***A Senator is planning to introduce a bill that would allow the Central bank to put a cap on the interest rates on variable mortgage that banks are allowed charge in an effort to put pressure on both lenders and the Government.
The private members bill is to be introduced by independent senator Fergal Quinn. Speaking to the Irish Times he said: “Gentle persuasion has failed as a policy tool,. It is time for us to arm the Central Bank with the powers necessary to force banks to reduce their variable interest rates to a reasonable level.”
The move comes as Finance Minister Michael Noonan is due to meet with representatives of six of the country’s main lenders later in the week to urge them to pass on savings from record low borrowing rates to customers.
***Irish civil engineering group Ward & Burke saw its profits more than double last year from €3.25m to €8.1m, new accounts show.
According to the Irish Times sales increased by more than a third from €76m to €104m as the company was boosted by strong growth in its Canadian and British operations.
The Galway-based firm, which specialises in sanitary and water services, employs just over 270 people. Turnover at its Irish division increased by 1pc to €31.2m.
***Several of Ladbrokes’ landlords are considering banding together to negotiate better terms from the bookmaker in return for the surrender of their leases, according to the Irish Times.
Ladbrokes is looking at shutting around 60 of its 196 stores in the Republic as it looks to restructure its under-performing Irish arm which was recently placed into examinership.
Businessman Tony Sexton, whose company lets a shop to Ladbrokes in Cork, claims that landlords will not receive enough compensation from the bookmaker for the surrender of their leases and says that a number of landlords are considering coming together to address the issue.
***A lack of finance is threatening the recovery of the construction industry, a new study has shown.
According to a survey carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers although 95pc of companies are confident about the next three years, almost two thirds said that securing funding was the biggest challenge they face when looking to expand their business.
Pwc tax partner Ronan MacNioclais said: “The survey highlights that access to finance, onerous planning and building regulations and uneconomic development prospects may contribute to the low level of planning applications compared to the demand.”
***A European Bank executive has said that the organisation is satisfied with the effects of its quantitative easing programme and has no intention of ending it earlier than planned.
The ECB started a programme in March that has seen it buy €60bn worth of eurozone government bonds a month in an effort to inject more cash into the economy and stop deflation.
Speaking to Luxembourg radio Yves Mersch said: “We have stopped the negative bank lending rates and are starting to get new credit into the economy through the banking system. If we stopped now, it would call into question our whole projection.”
***The Labour Court has recommended that Siptu members working at Abbott’s nutrition plant at Cootehill receive a pay increase over and above what the firm has been offering.
The plant at Cootehill on the Cavan-Monaghan border is part of Abbott’s nutrition division making specialised infant formula. About 1,000 dairy farms, both sides of the Border, supply milk to the Cootehill facility, which processes 500,000 litres per day.
Seeking a pay increase before the Labour Court for members at Cootehill, Siptu argued that the company has experienced significant change in recent years “and much of this is positive, with increased orders”.