Sunday 21 January 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 chairman David Bonderman has cast doubts on Michael O’Leary’s plans for his airline to provide connecting flights for long-haul carriers such as Air France-KLM and Lufthansa, saying he’s a “sceptic” about the idea.

In a rare and exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Bonderman – the billionaire co-founder of private equity giant TPG – also said he has no intention of stepping down from his role at the airline.

Mr Bonderman has been chairman of Ryanair since 1996, when he and associates at TPG, formerly Texas Pacific Group, invested in the carrier. TPG has over $74bn (€66bn) worth of assets under management.

***Ibec says the State should spend half of the €2bn-a-year Child Benefit budget directly on  childcare, cutting the amount of cash handed to parents.

The employers’ group has launched a pre-election “manifesto” setting out its members’ case for the next programme for government.

Ibec has been among the most optimistic bodies in forecasting the pace of economic recovery since the crash, and has been largely proved right over the past two years.

***Irish engineering firm PM Group doesn’t intend plotting a stock market flotation yet, with a strong enough balance sheet to allow it to continue its expansion strategy for at least the next five years, according to chief executive Dave Murphy.

The company, whose clients are almost entirely multinationals in the pharma, food and tech sectors, said its operating profits rose 24pc to €9m last year, despite revenue remaining largely flat at €349m, according to results yesterday.

Mr Murphy said the issue of a flotation does sometimes arise at board level.“It does come up from time to time,” said Mr Murphy. “But right now, we have a very strong balance sheet, we’ve no debt, and we’re largely able to fund any growth through our own resources.”

Irish Times:

***The insolvency Service of Ireland is raising its threshold for arranging the forgiveness of unsecured debt by 75pc.

People who have unsecured borrowings of up to €35,000 and little or no assets will be able to have their debts written off with no interference from their creditors allowed once a debt relief notice is awarded. The previous maximum was €20,000.

The move is part of an overhaul by the organisation on its dealings with distressed borrowers. The body also plans to have agents attend all home repossession hearings in courts to provide information to borrowers.

***Digicel, the Caribbean mobile operator run by businessman Denis O’Brien, is to begin blocking ads on its network sold by companies such as Google and Facebook.

The move is an attempt to get the tech companies to share revenue, as Mr O’Brien believes that they generate unfairly sales on the back of infrastructure such as Digicel’s network.

Mr O’Brien wants the companies to share revenue generated by ads sold during browsing activities by Digicel customers.

***Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness took part in a conference call with Finance Minister Michael Noonan regarding the sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland portfolio.

According to records released by the Department of Finance, the call took place at the request of then First Minister Robinson Mr and and Deputy First Minister Mr McGuinness.

Last week Mr McGuinness told the Stormont committee investigating the sale of Project Eagle that he had been “kept in the dark” regarding the deal.

Irish Examiner:

***The head of Volkswagen's Irish operations has been asked to appear before the Oireachtas transport committee regarding the company’s emissions scandal.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly is also looking to meet with Lars Himmer, who took up his position as managing director in June.

Both parties want to establish how many vehicles in Ireland have been affected by the scandal. The group has a 26pc market share in Ireland with popular brands including Audi and Skoda.

***Ryanair has applied for slots at the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports and is willing to co-operate with long-haul airlines, according to chief executive Michael O’Leary.

In an interview with French financial daily Les Echos, Mr O’Leary said the new slots, if approved, would not be at the expense of Beauvais airport north of Paris.

He also said Ryanair flights could be used as feeders for Air France at Roissy, IAG flights at Gatwick or Lufthansa flights in Berlin.

***It may be a matter of time before a cyber attack creates a problem that affects the whole financial industry, the deputy governor of the Central Bank has warned.

During an address to the Society of Actuaries, Cyril Roux also said a cyber security risk essentially creates a risk across the whole financial system.

“So far we have not had a cyber attack that led to systemic problems but it may only be a matter of time,” he said.

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