Saturday 17 August 2019

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

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

Irish Independent:

***A report on the controversial sale of assets and loans by the former Anglo Irish Bank will not now be completed before the General Election, if at all.

The Commission of Investigation into IBRC has made “no contact whatsoever” with the company at the centre of the political storm, Siteserv, in the four months since it was set up.

The Government believes there will be “no resistance” to introducing new laws as a way of salvaging the commission after the judge in charge suggested legal restrictions would make his final report irrelevant. But Government sources conceded last night that the report would be significantly delayed.

***Land with the potential for 11,000 residential units in the greater Dublin area has been sold by the National Assets Management Agency (Nama) in the past 18 months – but just 900 homes have been built.

Nama is now estimated to be funding about one third of active sites in the capital and commuter belt counties of Wicklow, Kildare, Meath and Louth.

Since the start of 2014, the agency has funded the ­construction of just over 2,000 new residential units across 46 individual development ­projects in the greater Dublin area.

***The ESB has been pressed into action in the UK to help prevent a winter power shortage there.

The semi-state’s international division owns and operates wind farms in the UK and an oil and gas-powered station called Corby, in Northamptonshire. It’s also building a huge 881 megawatt power plant outside Manchester, which is due to become operational next year.

The ESB confirmed that its Corby plant was awarded what’s called a strategic balancing reserve contract by National Grid in the UK this year. That contract runs from last month until September 2016, and means the plant is unavailable to the general power market in the UK.


Irish Times:

***Retail Excellence Ireland has introduced a new gift card that will work across multiple stores just as the Christmas shopping spree is set to begin, the Irish Times reports.

The FromMe2You card aims to provide competition to the One4All voucher, which is operated by the An Post subsidiary The Gift Voucher Shop and is accepted by over 7,000 outlets.

REI has raised €1m from 18 of its council members, who are also providing €850,000 in marketing support.

***The largest asset management firm in the Nordic region is the first to confirm that it will sue Volkswagen over the emissions scandal which has caused huge losses for asset managers across the globe.

Nordea Asset Management, which manages about €190bn of assets, said that it will join “several different class actions” against the German carmaker.

The head of responsible investments at Nordea’s fund arm Sasja Beslik said: “[The investors in our funds] should not have t6o bear the cost of VW fraud.”

***The upcoming Christmas season is set to be the best one for retailers since 2008, according to a new study.

The Retail Ireland Monitor published this morning predicts that core retail sales for December will hit €4.05bn, an increase of 3.5pc compared to the same period last year.

However, that figure is still down significantly on spending levels seen before the economic collapse, indicating a lost decade for retailers.


Irish Examiner:

***A landlord's representative group has called for thousands of previously removed bedsits to be brought back to help tackle rising rental costs.

A spokesman for the Residential Landlords Association said that the return of the small, low quality properties should be considered to help to cope with the demand for housing.

In a housing deal agreed by the Government last week the restrictions on development will be loosened, with Finance Minister Michael Noonan saying that over regulation had needlessly removed 5,000 bedsits from the market.

***An increase in new business orders helped building activity to rise last month, bucking the recent trend of monthly decreases in the sector.

Building activity was at 56.3 points in October, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Index, up from 55.8 points in September.

Any reading above 50 connotates growth in activity in the sector, while any reading below means contraction.

***Now that the US is closing in on full employment and inflation is likely to rise to target levels, the “next step” should be to start gradually increasing rates, a top US central banker said at the weekend.

“I do think it makes sense to gradually remove the policy of accommodation that helped get the economy to where we are,” San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams told the Arizona Council on Economic Education.

The comments suggest that Mr Williams, a centrist policy maker who was Fed Chair, Janet Yellen’s, chief researcher when she had his job before moving to Washington DC, is leaning towards support of a December rate hike.

Online Editors

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