Saturday 25 November 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:

***Digicel, the telecoms group owned by billionaire Denis O'Brien, last night cancelled a planned stock market debut in New York that could have valued the business at as much as $10bn (€9bn).

Digicel, which has its headquarters in Bermuda and which was founded by Mr O'Brien in 2000, had been expected to raise proceeds of between $1.8bn to $2bn (€1.6bn and €1.8bn) from the highly anticipated share sale.

It was widely expected that the shares would begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. It would have been the second-biggest stock market flotation in the United States this year.

***Irish internet users will be stuck in limbo for up to a year as Europe waits to see whether Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner cuts off Facebook traffic between Europe and the US.

The European Court of Justice said that the “interference” by US authorities with European personal data means that Europe may now “suspend” data-transfer arrangements between the trading blocs, known as ‘Safe Harbour’.

But it said that the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, needs to make the decision with regard to curtailing Facebook data activity between the EU and the US. The ruling could mean that Facebook users in Ireland and the EU see restricted features in future.

***Ray Coyle – best known as the owner of the Tayto and Hunky Dory crisp brands – is teaming up with Windsor Motors to invest in its fleet management division.

Windsor Motors plans to hive off its fleet management business into a new entity called Autolease Fleet Management, with Windsor and Mr Coyle then taking an equal share of the new firm. It will trade under the Sixt name.

The Irish franchise for Germany-based Sixt is owned by Conor Kelly and his wife. Its leasing and fleet management business will become part of the new Autolease entity. Mr Coyle is already an investor in the Sixt leasing business here.

Irish Times:

***Ireland was identified as one of the few bright spots in the International Monetary Fund’s latest global forecast, which predicted that global growth this year is to grow at its slowest rate since the global financial crisis.

It anticipates that 2015 will mark the fifth year in a row that growth in emerging economies will decline. This was enough for the organisation to lower its forecast for global growth to 3.1pc this year.

The IMF is predicting that Ireland’s economy will grow at a rate of 4.8pc this and 3.8pc next year, well below recently upgraded forecasts in Ireland of growth of 6.2pc this year and 4.2pc next year.

***Irish-owned packaging giant Ardagh resources is likely to go ahead with a planned $2bn flotation on the New York Stock Exchange, according to reports yesterday.

In June the group said that its metals division, Oressa, had filed documents with the US financial regulator signalling its indication for an IPO.

Since then a number of private equity groups have expressed interest in buying the company, however their bids have failed to meet Ardagh’s expectations because the firm has a €300m pension deficit.

***The number of Irish cars affected by Volkswagen’s emissions scandal has risen to 106,752 after the company said that over 27,000 privately imported cars from Volkswagen are also affected.

The company already confirmed last week that just under 80,000 cars sold through the company's dealer network in Ireland have been affected.

In the last number of days Volkswagen Group Ireland has launched a website that allows car owners to check if their vehicle is one of those affected by the software that was designed to cheat US emissions tests.

Irish Examiner:

***Suggested Government plans for a national audit of all buildings constructed during the boom may be scrapped over concerns that they will be too expensive and disruptive to the people living in or using the sites.

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin had suggested that widespread fire safety evaluations need to be undertaken in the wake of the Longboat Quay scandal.

However, the Irish Examiner reports that the Department of the Environment has concerns over the cost of such a large scale project and the potential disruption it would cause.

***The goal of the trade union movement is a living wage of €15 an hour, according to a senior member of Siptu.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions had previously said that the national living wage is “at least” €11.50 an hour.

However, Bernie Casey, a member of the union’s national executive council, told members at a Siptu conference in Cork that “the fight for a living wage of €11.50 an hour is underway, but this is only the beginning. The real objective is the goal of €15 an hour.”

***Maintaining the 9pc VAT rate for the hotel and holiday sector will be one of the main factors in job growth in the coming year, according to the respondents of a new study.

The latest quarterly hotels barometer, published by the Irish Hotels Federation, found that 64pc of hoteliers plan to hire staff in the next 12 months.

As many as 95pc of operators claim that their ability to hire new staff is largely down to the sector’s 9pc rate.

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