Friday 23 March 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

Here are the business stories you need to know about this morning:

Irish Independent:

***Developer Johnny Ronan is on the verge of buying part of AIB’s headquarters in Dublin in a deal worth more than €50m.

Mr Ronan is understood to have agreed terms to buy the site, which includes four vacant office blocks at AIB’s Bankcentre.

The site was purchased by the now bust developer Seán Dunne for some €200m in 2006. It is being sold on the instructions of a receiver appointed by Ulster Bank and Nama.

***A third of all venture capital funding in Europe in the second quarter took place in the UK, a new report shows.

This dominance chimes with what experts here have been saying about the favourable funding environment in the UK for start-ups and other businesses.

Experts have warned that Ireland is at risk of losing growing numbers of startup businesses to the UK where the tax regime for entrepreneurs is much more competitive, and the funding environment more advanced.

***Powervation, an Irish designer and producer of ultra energy-saving computer chips, aims to increase revenue to €100m over the next three years after being acquired by Japanese electronic parts manufacturer ROHM.

ROHM said yesterday it bought the Cork-based firm for €64m in an all-cash transaction.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, chief executive Mike McAuliffe said that the business, which had a turnover of just under €250,000 in 2013, is now looking to hit sales of €100m in three years as part of ROHM.

Irish Times:

***The Oireachtas banking inquiry whistleblower has called for a full independent inquiry into allegations of inappropriate behaviour by the inquiry’s support staff, the Irish Times reports.

In a statement to the newspaper the whistleblower said that they also want the investigation to be “completely removed” from the controls of the Houses of the Oireachtas Service.

They claimed that they have been “routinely instructed to disregard redacted material” arising from an unnamed institution.

***The new owners of Bray Wanderers have committed that they will not buy the club’s grounds without first securing a new location for the team, the Irish times reports.

The Carlisle Grounds in Bray would be prime development land if they became available. They are currently owned by Wicklow County Council.

The local authority provided the club with a 35 year lease in 2001 for minimal rent as long as the grounds are used for soccer. Any development would require the agreement of the council.

***A stock market flotation of AIB is more likely to take part in mid-2016 than during this year, according to Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

While the Government has made preparations for the State-owned bank’s IPO, at the publication of the annual report for the NTMA the minister suggested that a flotation will not take place until after the upcoming general election.

“The only window for an IPO left this year is in November, and I have said that the IPO isn’t going to be influenced in any way by the political calendar. While there is a window there, the likelihood is that the IPO will go into the middle of 2016,” he said.

Irish Examiner:

***Billionaire Donald Trump’s bargain-basement purchase of Doonbeg golf resort in Co Clare is already paying off rich dividends, with the businessman placing a price tag of up to $25m on the resort.

The receivers of Doonbeg golf resort last year received €8.7m arising from Mr Trump’s purchase of the resort.

But the new $25m valuation is contained in the 92 pages of financial disclosures that Mr Trump has filed with the Federal Election Commission in the US as part of his campaign to become the Republican candidate to stand for election as US president.

***Irish Water suffered a loss of €139m last year after it took control of Ireland’s water network from the country’s 31 local authorities.

Irish Water parent company Ervia said in its latest annual report that the loss suffered by the utility is “in line with startup expectations”.

The firm generated €687m in revenue last year, comprised of €248m from non-domestic charges and €439m from Government subvention, however its operating costs came to €794m.

***One of the members of the independent takeover committee assessing a  bid for Irish-listed oil and gas explorer Dragon Oil has joined the board of its bidder.

Emirates National Oil Company, which already owns 54pc of Dragon, has made a 750p per share offer to buy the rest of the company that it does not own.

Dragon has now announced that Ahmad Al-Muhairbi has resigned from the four man independent committee and joined the ENOC board in a move that analysts is expected to further antagonise minority shareholders in Dragon already upset with what they perceive as an undervaluing of the company.

Online Editors

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