Tuesday 12 December 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:

***Aer Lingus needs to make "aggressive" cuts of at least €60m if it hopes to compete internationally, according to a confidential presentation given to senior managers last month.

A report commissioned by the airline recommends slashing cost with job cuts for pilots, cabin crew and catering staff.

The report also found Aer Lingus is at a disadvantage because the majority of its business is based in Dublin and Heathrow, where airport charges are higher.

***The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) will offer bonuses in order to retain key employees until the agency shuts.

Nama has won Government backing for a “modest retention payment” to encourage key staff to remain at the agency, its chairman Frank Daly said.

As the agency revealed yesterday that its profit last year more than doubled, Mr Daly said Finance Minister Michael Noonan had signed off on the scheme designed to persuade critical staff not to leave.

***A majority of Irish businesses are not adhering to legal requirements around IT security, according to a new Red C survey.

The research, commissioned by A&L Goodbody, says that the legal lapses are leaving Irish companies open to legal action and potential fines.

The survey of 200 Irish companies found that two-thirds do not have written IT security policies in place while three in five firms don’t train staff on what to do.

Irish Times:

***Ryanair is likely to get approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to sell its near 30pc stake in Aer Lingus to IAG, removing a potential barrier in for the deal.

The Dublin-based low cost carrier needs the approval of the CMA for the sale of its stake, worth about €400m, in its smaller rival as the two parties are currently locked in a legal dispute.

Ryanair is currently appealing a ruling by the CMA which would see it sell down its stake in Aer Lingus to about 5pc. While the CMA has currently suspended Ryanair from doing anything with its shares, the Irish Times reports that the organisation is not likely to stand in the company’s way if it chooses to sell its stake to IAG.

***Ireland has some of the most volatile official economic figures in the western world, according to a new report from the Economic & Social Research Institute.

According to the Irish Times, a paper by ESRI researcher Niall Conroy says that volatility in quarterly GDP and GNP “is amongst the highest in the OECD”.

It says: “We can also see that the high levels of volatility are evident in several sectors of the economy, particularly those with a strong multi-national corporation presence.”

***Businessman Sean Quinn’s exposure to Anglo Irish Bank could have affected the stability of the whole financial system, the Banking Inquiry has been told.

Former Central Bank director general Tony Grimes said the bank was aware of the risk from early 2008.

Mr Grimes said the Quinn Group issue was discussed “in general terms” at a meeting in July 2008, but it was his understanding that the Central Bank was aware “a month or two earlier”.

Irish Examiner:

***Mortgage debt write downs should be used to help some of those struggling in arrears, the insolvency Service of Ireland has said.

Speaking at the Oireachtas justice committee, the organisation’s chairman Lorcan O’Connor claimed that such a system was not likely to be abused or demanded by people in some financial difficulty.

He said: “I do not accept the argument that there can be no write-down of mortgage debt. Sometimes that will be the correct thing to do. Not only in order to keep in their home, but also because it makes financial sense for the creditor.”

***There are currently five potential parties who could partner up with Providence Resources for the development of the firm’s prized asset, the Barryroe oil and gas field, according to the Irish Examiner.

Dublin-based Providence has been trying to get a partner on board to develop the field for years. Earlier this year the company said that it had reached a tentative deal with a development partner but still remained in talks with other interested parties.

The Irish Examiner reports that there are four other parties who are interested in the Barryroe deal who have financing in place.

***Greece and its creditors are starting to draft a technical-level agreement, a government official said, signalling progress in long-running talks to unlock aid for the cash-strapped country.

"At the Brussels Group [of credit negotiators] today procedures to draw up a staff-level agreement are beginning," the official said, adding that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would be in touch with other leaders to conclude a deal.

The official said the deal would avoid wage and pension cuts.

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