Tuesday 24 April 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:

***Ryanair won’t ever fly transatlantic services, the airline’s billionaire chairman David Bonderman insisted yesterday.

“We have no interest in flying transatlantic,” he told shareholders at the airline’s annual general meeting at Dublin Airport yesterday.

Ryanair also announced that it intends to return €398m in proceeds from the sale of its near-30pc stake in Aer Lingus to shareholders before the end of the calendar year. It sold the Aer Lingus shares to IAG, which has acquired the former State-owned carrier.

***A series of tax measures aimed at encouraging people to invest in start-up companies will be introduced in the Budget.

Existing incentives for people who invest in start-ups and for entrepreneurs are seen as restrictive and face a major overhaul, amid fears that Dublin is losing out to London and other EU capitals.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan is looking at ways encourage so-called ‘angel’ investors who put money into start-ups in the high-risk early stages.

***Irish-led baking firm Aryzta is to sell off its remaining stake in Origin Enterprises in a deal worth nearly a quarter of a billion euro.

In a statement after markets closed yesterday, Aryzta said it will sell its 36,282,338 remaining shares in the agri business,

At yesterday’s share price of €6.80, Aryzta’s holding would be worth more than €246m. Aryzta has been involved with Origin since it was set up. Origin was formed from the rump of the old IAWS back in 2008.

Irish Times:

***Directors at Digicel, the telecoms company owned by businessman Denis O’Brien, have told investors that the firm is prepared to spend up to $400m on 15 acquisitions.

The acquisition plan was outlined by Mr O’Brien and senior executives at the company in recent days in a presentation plan for potential investors.

The recordings were made as part of a roadshow for Digicel’s upcoming US flotation, which the company hopes will raise about $1.7bn. This would value the Caribbean-based firm at about $10bn.

***Belfast developer Gareth Graham is to meet with US agencies today to discuss his concerns about the £1.2bn sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland portfolio.

Mr Graham is taking legal action against Cerberus, the US investment firm that bought loans to some of his properties when they bought the Northern Irish Project Eagle’ portfolio.

He recently told the Northern Ireland finance committee that he has phone recordings that include allegations of inappropriate conduct by politicians, lawyers and accountants in the north.

***As many as 80,000 cars could be affected by the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal, the Irish Times reports.

German federal transport minister Alexander Dobrindt confirmed that diesel engines in European cars featured the same software that was used to cheat US emissions tests.

A Volkswagen spokeswoman said that the engine affected comes in a 2 litre, 1.6 litre and 1.2 litre version. Car sale statistics show that almost 80,000 cars by Volkswagen and its subsidiaries with those engine specifics were sold in Ireland between 2009 and 2014.

Irish Examiner:

***Cork Airport is expected to start operating transatlantic flights for the first time in 50 years, the Irish Examiner reports.

According to the newspaper official confirmation is expected early next week. It says that Norwegian Air is set to offer flights to Boston three times a week, adding that these flights could begin in the first half of next year.

Sources tell the newspaper that there is potential for the service to be expanded in 2017, with New York mooted as a possible destination.

***Newly rebranded telecoms company Eir has been accused of “corporate vandalism” after blocking a public art project with one of its rebranding banners.

Cork city planners have ordered the firm to remove the banner from the upper floors of the Singer’s Corner building. The banner is due to be removed by Sunday.

The Lord Mayor of Cork Chris O’Leary said: “I am appalled that somebody can erect a sign like this without the city’s permission. I find it offensive that someone can come along and drape a building like this.”

***The heads of two of the bodies representing 90pc of the country’s insurance brokers have said that Central Bank plans to increase levies on intermediaries by 45pc are “unacceptable”.

The Central bank is proposing that levies increase from €515 to €750. Levies were pitched at €145 in 2011.

The head of the Irish Brokers Association Ciaran Phelan and Diarmuid Kelly, the head of the Professional Irish Brokers Association have told Finance Minister Michael Noonan that members are already struggling with increases from the Central Bank in recent years.

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