Sunday 18 February 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

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

Irish Independent:

***Disgraced banker David Drumm is facing false accounting and conspiracy to defraud charges, the Irish Independent has learned.

Although gardaí secured a district court warrant for Mr Drumm’s arrest several months ago, the nature of the charges he is facing had not been confirmed until now.

Informed sources have said Mr Drumm would face charges including false accounting and conspiracy to defraud should he be returned to Ireland from the US.

***Ryanair is going to slash fares during the winter as it passes on savings from cheaper fuel to passengers. The airline’s average fare in the second half of its financial year is set to tumble by up to 8pc, chief executive Michael O’Leary said.

With 31 net new aircraft being added to its fleet over the winter, Ryanair will ground fewer jets during the season than it did last year. It has also raised the forecast for the total number of passengers it expects to carry this financial year, which ends next March, from 100 million to 103 million.

It made the prediction as it reported that its first-quarter profit after tax jumped 25pc to €245m – in line with analyst expectations.

***Chinese shares slid more 8.5pc yesterday as an unprecedented government rescue plan to prop up markets ran out of steam, throwing Beijing’s efforts to stave off a deeper crash into doubt.

Major indices suffered their largest one-day drop since 2007, shattering three weeks of relative calm in China’s volatile stock markets since Beijing unleashed a barrage of support measures to arrest a slump that started in mid-June.

The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen tumbled 8.6pc to 3,818.73 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 8.5pc to 3,725.56 points.

Irish Times:

***The cost of Irish Water is set to be stuck on the national balance sheet after a decision by the EU statistics service Eurostat expected to be detailed later today.

The organisation is set to refuse the Government’s application for Irish Water to be treated as a separate company under the Market Competition Test, which would have cleared the utility to borrow without also increasing the national debt.

The initial ruling is likely to hold to 2017 at the earliest and is a blow to the Government, which will now not get a  ho9ped-for boost to the 2016 budget figures.

***Telecommunications giants Eircom and Vodafone have been convicted  and fined for ripping off customers who were continuously overcharged, the Irish Times reports.

The two companies, as well as Three Ireland, pleaded guilty at the Dublin District Court to offences under Section 45 of the Communications Act following an investigation by industry watchdog Comreg.

Vodafone was fined €10,000 while Eircom was hit with a penalty of €21,000. Three, which pleaded guilty to three charges, will be spared a conviction if it donates €15,000 to charity.

***Online taxi company Uber is to create 150 new jobs in Limerick before the end of the year with the opening of a new customer service base in the city.

The US firm says that it plans to employ 300 staff at the centre by the end of 2016 and will invest €4m in the facility.

The hub will support Uber’s operations outside the US and is the company’s first “centre of excellence to be located outside of the States. Recruitment for up to 50 people it to start immediately.

Irish Examiner:

***Annual house price increases  has eased in some regions according to new figures released yesterday, however the Government still faces a headache in considering an overhaul of the local property tax, the Irish Examiner reports.

The CSO said that its latest property price index showed that house prices only increased by a monthly 0.1pc while the price of homes in Dublin fell by 0.4pc, although up by 11pc over the past year.

However, the newspaper reports that the recent modest falls in price will not lessen difficulties for the Government as the property tax bills for a three year cycle was assessed against depressed house prices in 2013.

***The weak euro is boosting debtor countries such as Ireland but is failing to increase demand in creditor countries across the Eurozone, according to a report from the IMF.

The report on the economy of the single currency bloc also highlighted the opportunity to dispose of non-performing loans to help countries secure new funding options.

It said that Ireland, Spain, portugal and Italy were best placed to benefit from such a policy.

***Earnings at Dublin’s Beacon Hospital rose more than three fold last year to €7.2m, new figures show.

New accounts just filed by Beacon Medical Group Sandyford and subsidiaries show that revenues rose by 10pc to €82.2m in the 12 months to the end of June 2014.

The group chief finance officer with Beacon, Daragh Kavanagh, said that the hospital “goes from strength to strength” with revenues and patient numbers up around 10pc in the current year.

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