Thursday 14 December 2017

What it says in the papers: business pages

Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Here are the business stories you need to know about this morning.

Irish Independent

* The new owner of Arnotts has pumped more than €100m into the business since competition authorities signed off on a takeover deal in August.

Wittington Properties, controlled by Brown Thomas owners the Weston Family, took control of the Arnotts store in Dublin city centre in August in a deal with developer Noel Smyth.

That agreement divided the former Arnotts Group between the Westons, who keep and continue to trade the landmark city centre department store, and Noel Smyth's Fitzwilliam company which gets control of the group's remaining assets, including the nearby Boyers store and other properties in the area.

* No formal risk assessment research was drawn up by the Central Bank of the possible effects on Ireland if Greece had crashed out of the euro last summer.

While the Athens crisis in the first half of the year was discussed by senior officials in Dame Street, no body of research or any discussion papers were drawn up formally examining the likely impact on Ireland of a Greek default, or exit from the single currency.

The bank said any contingency planning would have been done at European level - a view shared by the Department of Finance.

* The Aga Khan, JP McManus and John Magnier are among the backers of a new company established to redevelop, own and operate the Curragh Racecourse.

The €65m project includes plans for a new grandstand and parade ring.

The company - Curragh Racecourse Limited - will be chaired by Eir chairman and former ESB chief executive Padraig McManus, inset. Other board members include Goffs chairman Eimear Mulhern - daughter of former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey.

The Irish Times

* An increase in the US Federal Reserve's interest rates may be a possibility at this December's policy meeting.

The Fed in the past has ruled out an any interest rate hikes in recent times, however household spending in the US is seeing solid gains, prompting the bank to consider temporary rate increases.

A statement from the Fed surprised investors as it looks to raise its interest rates for the first time in nine years.

* Google Ireland has increased its turnover to €18.3bn as increased ad revenue helped boost the company's profits and raise its turnover by €1.3bn.

The company's staff headcount jumped by 17pc to 2,763, while it invested another €78m in Ireland to bring its total capital assets investment in Ireland to half a billion.

The Dublin-based firm paid €41.5m in tax last year on €209m in reported profit, while the company's booked administration costs rose by €800m in 2013.

Irish Examiner

* Drinks company C&C will look at more acquisitions in a bid to continue its expansion despite the fact that an active shareholder has called for it to focus on its home markets.

C&C, who filed its interim results yesterday showing a 9.5pc fall in its operating profits, has been urged by US hedge fund capital firm, Orange Capital,  to raise more debt to fund more share buybacks.

Orange Capital also asked for the company to row back on its US expansion my exiting the market entirely and also by downsizing in the UK.

* The Clarion Hotel in Sligo has attracted the attention of Ireland's largest hotel group, Dalata. Savills brought the hotel to the market yesterday with a guide price of €7m, attracting interest.

Chief executive at Dalata, Pat McCann, said that the hotel, which is currently managed by Dalata, would court a number of suitors, Dalata included.

Earlier in the year Dalata mentioned its interest in regional four-star hotels and also bought the Clarion Hotel in Cork for €35.1m earlier this month.

* Mercer Ireland's pre-tax profits almost tripled last year as the company filed a pre-tax profit of €24.89m.

Mercer, who carried out a report into pay at Irish banks, showed that revenues jumped in the company by 17.5pc, up to €134.6m.

The company also revealed that employment numbers had fallen from 481 to 439, leaving an average pay of €82,979.

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