Monday 18 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:

***Eircom, whose name was changed yesterday to Eir, is worth more than the €3.3bn price tag placed on it earlier this year by an unnamed suitor, according to chief executive Richard Moat.

“You must anticipate that the business can grow to levels beyond that,” he said, speaking after Eircom unveiled a €16m rebrand that's the biggest by any company in Ireland in about 20 years.

The Eircom name has existed since 1999, when Telecom Eireann was rebranded ahead of its stock market flotation.

***A surge in venture capital funding for tech startups is being focused almost exclusive on Dublin-based companies, new figures show.

The numbers, contained in the Irish Venture Capital Association’s (IVCA) latest VenturePulse report, reveal that Dublin received at least €227m of the €307m raised by startups in the first six months of this year.

By contrast, the figures also show that startups in Limerick got nothing while startups in Cork only attracted a tiny €2.9m.

***The ESB has been given the green light for a new €150m headquarters in Dublin.

An Bord Pleanala has granted permission for the development, subject to 19 conditions, which includes carrying out a survey of the controversial Block A, built by architect Sam Stephenson in the 1960s, and which involved the demolition of 16 Georgian Buildings on what was known as the ‘Georgian Mile.

The development site includes buildings dating from the 1940s to the 1980s, ranging in height from four to seven storeys, including 11 protected structures.

Irish Times:

***The fiscal advisory council has backed the Government’s current budget plans, although it has warned it not to increase spending any further than planned.

In a pre-budget statement the council, which has been critical of the Coalition’s budgetary policy in the past, said that the planned €1.2bn-€1.5bn expansion “is within the range of prudent policies from an economic perspective”.

It also noted that the Government’s planned spend is at the higher end of that range and called for “continued policy vigilance” to keep the economy stable.

***Cerberus, the US company that bought Nama’s Northern Irish portfolio for £1.2bn, has said that it held “substantive discussions prior to the acquisition” with stakeholders in the North, including politicians.

In a submission to a Stormont committee investigating the sale of the assets the firm said “as part of its due diligence into the Northern Ireland economy and ongoing liaison with the stakeholders in the jurisdiction” it met with several senior politicians including former first minister Peter Robinson.

The investment firm also said it had “contact” with the former minister of trade, Arlene Foster and the deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Nigel Dodds.

***A €70m loan from Fairfax Financial will help insurer FBD meet new EU solvency requirements set to come into force next year.

The loan will be made in the form of a ten year bond. The Canadian firm will have the right to convert it into a 19pc stake in the Irish company.

The move comes just weeks after FBD announced that it lost €96m before tax in the first half of the year.

Irish Examiner:

***The Government has been urged to introduce a scheme to help first time buyers help save for a deposit for a house.

Mortgage brokers claim that new rules recently brought in by the Central Bank means that it takes too long for first time buyers to save enough money needed to put down a deposit.

Mortgage Brain Ireland recommended that a savings scheme be introduced similar to the previous Special Savings Incentive Accounts scheme where the Government provided a €1 bonus for every €4 people committed to saving on a regular basis.

***There are growing fears for the 4,000 people employed at the Irish operations of technology giant Hewlett-Packard after it announced a round of mass layoffs yesterday.

The company plans to cut as many as 35,000 staff globally. The mass job losses are in addition to 55,000 layoffs announced last year.

The company gave no detail of which countries jobs will be lost in, only saying that it would look to reduce staff in its Enterprise Service division.

***Petroceltic’s bid to prevent its biggest shareholders from convening an extraordinary general meeting (EGM), will be opposed, the High Court was told yesterday.

Mr Justice Max Barrett heard that Swiss hedge fund Worldview, which holds 29pc of Irish oil and gas exploration company Petroceltic’s share capital, has called for an EGM to take place on October 5 and is disputing the Irish firm’s legal action.

Judge Barrett was told that the case, to be heard next Thursday, was expected to last at least a day

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business