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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:

***Finance Minister Michael Noonan has rejected claims he was trying to ensure Greece did not get a better EU debt deal than Ireland at crunch talks on Monday.

In the Dail yesterday Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA) TD, Ruth Coppinger, said she believed the Finance Minister lined up with Germany at the crucial European ministers’ meeting in Brussels to ensure Greece did not secure a deal on debt which Ireland had already failed to get.

“How dare you lecture the Greek government,” Ms Coppinger said referring to media reports from the crunch meetings in Brussels on the future of Greece as a member of the 19-state Eurozone.

***Shares in UTV Media plunged yesterday after the broadcaster issued its second profit warning in as many months on the back of terrible results from its Irish television operation.

And in another blow, it emerged that international media giant Liberty Global is in exclusive talks to buy TV3 – a takeover by the UPC owner would create a new Irish media giant.

In March, UTV Ireland had been expected to lose around £6m (€8.4m) in its first year but in May its parent said losses would top £8.5m.

Yesterday, however, in an unscheduled trading update, UTV said it would now lose £11.5m and as a result the company had renegotiated some of its covenants with its lenders.

***The Data Protection Commissioner has rapped the knuckles of the HSE and a credit union for giving out financial information about employees and members.

The data chief’s annual report for 2014 details how a HSE employee’s salary details were wrongly given out by the health body to an accountancy firm representing the employee’s ex-wife. The HSE admitted that it was harangued into providing the details without the employee’s consent and should not have done so.

Irish Times:

***It is likely that EU officials have raised competition concerns regarding the proposed €1.4bn takeover of Aer Lingus by IAG in a move that could delay the deal, the Irish Times reports.

According to the newspaper at a recent meeting in Brussels attended by both companies the EU Commission’s law directorate questioned whether the takeover would impede competition in the market for valuable takeoff and landing slots at Heathrow airport.

The fact that the commission sought the deal in the first place means that it has issues with the deal, meaning that IAG will have to outline in the coming days how it intends to tackle the concerns raised.

***The owner of the Spar and Mace chains in Ireland, BWG, has completed a €220m refinancing deal that will help it to fund its €23m takeover of ADM Londis, the irish Times reports.

The new facility, which will also be used to help ease the terms of its legacy boomtime debts, is provided by Bank of Ireland, AIB and Barclays Bank of Ireland. It is guaranteed by Spar South Africa, the company that bought an 80pc stake in BWG last year in a move that wiped off €70m from its debt.

The paper also reports that the deal to buy Londis is close to being done after receiving competition from the State watchdog earlier this month.

***The Nevin Economic Research Institute (Neri) has branded government plans for a 50:50 split in Budget 2016 between spending increases and tax cuts as inappropriate.

In its latest assessment of the economy, the trade union-funded think-tank said long term economic growth, employment and equity goals by boosting public capital investment levels.   

“In addition, we argue for a modest increase in social spending funded by a set of growth-friendly reforms to increase total government revenue,” Neri said.

Irish Examiner:

***Nama has lost an appeal claiming it is not a public authority subject to freedom of environmental information requests.

A five-judge Supreme Court gave its unanimous decision in a dispute about Nama’s status which arose after a journalist, Gavin Sheridan, sought information from it in 2010 under EU freedom to environmental information regulations.

Although Nama is obliged to act commercially, it is undoubtedly vested with special powers well beyond those which result from the normal rules applicable to relations governed by private law, Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell said on behalf of the court.

***Shares in British bookmaker Ladbrokes jumped 20pc at one point yesterday on news of its merger talks with Gala Coral, designed to create a $5bn giant with the firepower to get ahead in the key online gambling market.

The talks are the first major move by Ladbrokes Chief Executive Jim Mullen, who was appointed in March with a remit to grow digital services at Britain's second biggest bookmaker and close the gap on market leader William Hill.

The two businesses would have around 4,000 betting shops, almost half the UK market, meaning Britain's competition authority would be likely to insist some shops are sold off in areas where they overlap.

***Fears over the number of workers who could be displaced by the proposed EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership deal are unjustified and insignificant compared to natural fluctuations in the Irish market, Richard Bruton has claimed.

Speaking at a joint Oireachtas committee hearing on the proposed TTIP deal, the Jobs Minister said that an estimated 0.7pc of EU workers would lose their jobs as certain industries wax and wane.

Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin said that this figure would represent about 13,000 jobs in Ireland, however the minister said that the “natural” displacement rate in IDA and Enterprise Ireland companies is about 5pc.

Online Editors