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What it says in the papers: business pages


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

Irish Independent:

***The Dublin suburb of Cherrywood is expected to double in size, with a population of 20,000 after dramatic new expansion plans were unveiled.

Plans have been revealed for about 3,800 homes as well as shopping and office space at a new development in south Dublin.

The US investment firm Hines yesterday launched its Cherrywood plan, which will effectively create a new suburb in the capital. Green space including three large parks will be included in the project.

***Ardmore Studios is understood to be as little as days away from striking a deal to lease a massive new film studio in Limerick.

Plans for a multi-million euro film production hub in Limerick took a massive step forward yesterday after the local council agreed to buy a 350,000 sq ft former Dell factory.

It is now expected that the facility, bought by Limerick City and County Council for between €5m and €6m, will be leased out to Ardmore Studios, Ireland’s biggest film and television production company. The facility at Plassey Technological Park, near the University of Limerick, is twice the size of Ardmore’s Bray, Co Wicklow, studio.

***Ryanair will not reveal any final decision this morning regarding the future of its near 30pc stake in Aer Lingus, the Irish Independent understands.

Coupled with Ryanair’s stance on attempting to reverse a decision by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to make Ryanair cut its holding in Aer Lingus to no more than 5pc, it means the €1.36bn takeover effort by IAG for Aer Lingus could be set to rumble on for a number of weeks.

Ryanair releases its full-year results today, and while chief executive Michael O’Leary is certain to reference the Aer Lingus takeover saga, he’s not expected to reveal whether Ryanair will sell the stake in its smaller rival.

***The Government believes that it has won “significant” concessions from IAG on the sale of Aer Lingus and the deal could be discussed at Cabinet today, according to the Irish Times.

The newspaper reports that IAG has made several commitments to the Government if it decides to sell its 25pc stake in the airline.

These include a guarantee to use the airline’s Heathrow slots to fly to Irish airports for a minimum of seven years, a commitment that the company’s headquarters will be stay in Dublin and plans to launch new transatlantic flights from Dublin.

***Ulster Bank has agreed to the sale of a major hotels portfolio to Sankaty Advisers, a US-based affiliate of investment group Bain Capital.

The Irish Times reports that the portfolio consists of, among other properties, 36 hotels, 66 pubs and 56 development and agricultural sites.

Although the price of the sale is not revealed, the newspaper reports that it is likely to have been at a substantial discount to the outstanding loan balance of €465m. The market value of the properties is estimated at nearly €200m.

***A planned €2.1bn offshore windfarm development by Dublin-based Mainstream Renewable Energy could be stalled for months by an expected challenge to the project in Scottish court this week.

The Irish Times reports that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is challenging the Scottish Government’s decision to grant the Irish company a license for their 450 megawatt Neart na Gaoithe development as well as three other major windfarms.

Although construction on the project was meant to begin this year, a judicial review of the development could take months, during which time no construction work would be able to take place.

Irish Examiner:

***Ireland is benefitting from the ongoing uncertainty over Greece’s financial security, with the weakening euro aiding trade with the US and the UK, the Irish Examiner reports.

According to the newspaper, analysts say that the ongoing Greek crisis and the European Central Bank’s €1.1 trillion quantitative easing programme has helped Ireland sell more goods and services to Britain.

The claims come as the countdown continues to a payment of more than €300m which cash-strapped Greece needs to make to the IMF by June, which have raised significant fears of the country defaulting.

***Half of the finance experts polled in a study say that Ireland could benefit financially if Britain decides to leave the European Union.

The survey, carried out by the accountancy representative body ACCA Ireland, shows that 50pc of those polled think that Ireland could see a boost in foreign direct investment if Britain was to leave the European Union, although two thirds said they thought that a “Brexit” will not occur.

ACCA chief executive Liz Hughes said: “Some of the results were surprising as one in three of the respondents don’t believe it will affect business at all, and a large contingent of members indicated that there might be opportunities for Irish businesses in attracting greater FDI.”

***A Cork-based web hosting company has said that plans to link up to a high-speed transatlantic cable will make it the fastest performing data switching centre in the country at some point during the summer, according to the Irish Examiner.

The newspaper reports that the datacentre has the potential to support new investment and multinational clients across Cork.

It has plans for further connections in France and in Asia.

Online Editors