Friday 17 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:

***Fifteen leading financial bosses have warned that measures such as the Central Bank’s mortgage deposit rules could end up creating unknown risks.  

In a joint statement put out by the World Economic Forum, the heads and senior executives of a number of international banks, including HSBC, Zurich Insurance, and UBS, said so-called macro-prudential rules were a good thing to ensure financial stability.

But they warned that more research was needed to gauge if the measures will be effective, or whether they will end up generating additional risks.

***Eircom is to shave €60m to €80m off its operating costs over the next three years, as CEO Richard Moat hailed the firm for “turning a corner”.

The telecommunications company yesterday reported that its revenue decline is beginning to slow.

Eircom took in €311m in the three months to the end of March, a 1pc drop on the €315m the company took in the year before. However, the 2014 figure was a 5pc fall on the year before.

***Twitter’s self-declared legal switch to Ireland may be a peremptory move ahead of a change in European law spurred by US spying, according to data protection experts.

The social networking company has changed its non-US privacy accountability to its Irish office, making the Irish facility nominally responsible for 250 million users around the world.

“It’s possible that Twitter may be anticipating a change in Safe Harbour because of recent developments and the direction European authorities are taking,” said Irish data privacy expert Daragh O’Brien.

Irish Times:

***Michael Noonan will expect a response “within weeks” from banks after the lenders are hauled before the Finance Minister for talks on the pricing of their variable rate mortgages, according to the Irish Times.

Mr Noonan is due to meet with the chief executives of six banks between today and Thursday in an effort to put pressure on the lenders to cut their interest rates for around 300,000 variable rate mortgage holders.

The newspaper reports that Mr Noonan will signal to the banks that the Government will take action on the issue if the lenders are unwilling to.

***Lloyds Banking Group is planning to sell a real estate portfolio connected to Ireland valued at €4.2bn, one of the biggest such sales since the financial crash.

The Irish Times reports that the portfolio has already been brought to market by Deloitte and the first bids are expected to be launched by June.

The portfolio is made up of around 5,000 loans and 3,500 customers. About 80pc of the portfolio is connected to the Republic.

***Dublin-based Valeo Foods has completed a €7m upgrade of its Cabra manufacturing facility.

It is the biggest investment in the site since it was established 70 years ago and will see the creation of 40 new jobs, bringing total employment at the facility to 150 people over the next year.

The latest phase has seen the creation of a new state-of-the-art production line which, among other things, has resulted in the manufacturing, production and packaging of Chef sauces and Fruitfield jam and marmalades returning to Ireland.

Irish Examiner:

***The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, which was set up to help provide credit to SMEs, should be reformed so that it more closely resembles a high street lender instead of a funding resource for the pillar banks, an economic think tank has claimed.

The trade-union supported Nevin Institute said that a new lending institution should act as a competitor to the banks rather than act as a support system for them.

Institute chief Tom Healy said that the SBCI should be restructured so it would have more branches around the country and would be able to engage with SMEs on a face-to-face basis.

***The market is almost certain that IAG will receive Government approval to buy Aer Lingus  in the coming weeks, a leading analyst has said.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner Stephen Furlong from Goodbody Stockbrokers said the fact that shares in Aer Lingus are currently trading at €2.40, just below the €2.55 that IAG is offering, is a strong sign of confidence in the deal.

Mr Furlong said that the Government had been cautious in dealing with the offer, and added that there would be enormous surprise if the deal was to fall apart.

***Endo International, the maker of pain drugs like Opana and Percocet, has agreed to buy Par Pharmaceutical Holdings Inc. for $8.05bn as part of a plan to ignite sales growth and pursue more acquisitions.

In exchange for Par, the drugmaker agreed to give private-equity firm TPG Capital $1.55bn in stock and $4.1bn in cash and to assume $2.4bn of Par’s debt.

The takeover will create a generic-drug business that is among the top 5 in US sales, the companies said in a statement yesterday, and will boost Endo’s earnings in the first year.

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