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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:

***Shares in Cairn Homes rose sharply yesterday, as the construction firm moved to build up a near €400m war chest for construction here.

The Irish homebuilder became the first construction firm from the Republic to list on a public market in nearly 20 years after its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

The shares opened at €1 but quickly rose more than 5pc in a sign of just how much interest there is in the business. After administrative costs, the company will have a €384.9m warchest  for acquisitions and construction here.

***Decawave, a Dublin-based developer of semiconductors that are embedded in products so they can be precisely located, has raised about €4m in its latest funding round, the Irish Independent has learned.

It brings the total raised by the firm to $30m (€26m) since 2007. The fresh finance will be used to accelerate its R&D programme for a next generation of location chips that are being targeted at the consumer sector.

Decawave marketing manager Mickael Viot said that the company plans to hire around 10 people to add to its existing 43-strong workforce. The new staff will primarily be focused on research and development.

***The Low Pay Commission, established to advise the Government on the appropriate rate for the national minimum wage, has been “hamstrung” by comments made by a Minister, it has been claimed.

Speaking after the Small Firms Association Annual National Conference yesterday, SFA chief AJ Noonan claims that the Commission will be unable to take a completely objective view of the issue due to comments made by Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash.

“The Minister has already said that there will be wage increases. If he has already said that there will be wage increases, what is the Low Pay Commission meant to do?” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Jobs hit back at Mr Noonan’s comments, describing them as “nonsense”.

Irish Times:

***Finance union IBOA is looking for a pay increase of about 3pc for staff at AIB to give them parity with a recent pay deal at Bank of Ireland.

The Irish Times reports that the Government did not want a deal agreed before an agreement was made on the recent talks regarding the restoration of public sector pay.

The Labour Relations Commission has been asked to intervene after pay talks at at the bank broke down and it is expected that talks will be held in the coming weeks.

***Broadcaster Setanta Sports is poised to clamp down on pubs showing its content without a commercial licence after getting a judgement against one such premises this week, according to the Irish Times.

Clonmel Court has awarded the broadcaster just under €6,750 for the loss of royalties against Arch Bar in Thurles after Setanta had claimed that its content was being unlawfully broadcast.

Setanta also has 15 other cases currently pending against pubs which it claims are screening sports events without a suitable commercial contract.

***Communications Minister Alex White has rejected claims that new guidelines  on media mergers will be unable to tackle current problems of over-concentration of ownership.

The guidelines on mergers between companies involved in radio, television, newspapers or online media will give the Minister the power to decide if a proposed merger between companies involved in media is in the public interest.

The new guidelines were criticised by Irish NUJ secretary Seamus Dooley, who said they were undermined by the refusal of the government to consider retrospective measures to deal with a current concentration of media ownership by a few powerful parties.

Irish Examiner:

***Opposition TD Pearse Doherty said he will consider releasing further information about large IBRC debtors in due course if he deems it to be in the public interest.

Mr Doherty, who yesterday claimed that businessman Denis O’Brien extended his IBRC loans after threatening legal action, said that he is “as sure as he can be” that his claims are accurate.

The Dail yesterday voted  in favour of the terms of reference of terms of reference for the commission of investigation into IBRC. Government Ministers said that the terms would allow for the investigation of Mr Doherty's claims, however the Sinn Fein TD says that this view is open to legal challenge.

***Irish global biotech investment fund Malin has sunk $35m (€31m), and committed to invest a further $10 million into US drug firm Melinta Therapeutics, its first new asset post IPO.

Malin will join founding investors, Vatera Healthcare Partners, and other existing investors in a Series 4 funding round of up to $67m.

This brings the number of operating assets in Malin to eight. Melinta Therapeutics is a private company developing novel antibiotics to treat bacterial infections.

***Spain’s Inditex, owner of clothing retailer Zara, yesterday reported better-than-expected quarterly profits, as its global fast-fashion business model allowed it to keep pace with local economic and fashion trends.

First quarter profit rose 28pc €521m, 3pc above forecasts. Consumer confidence in Europe contributed, but so did a weak euro and its own weak performance in the first quarter of 2014.

Its shares fell 1.7pc versus a 1.2pc gain in the European retail sector; reflecting doubts it could match last year’s 58pc gross margin, neck-and-neck with Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz and way beyond most retailers.

Online Editors