Sunday 18 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:

***Taoiseach Enda Kenny has made his first concrete ­intervention in the debate over Britain’s future in the European Union, warning that a ‘Brexit’ poses a “major strategic risk” for the Irish economy.

In an indication of the ­Government’s intention to play a role during the campaign, Mr Kenny said it would be “sympathetic and supportive” of reform proposals by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Fine Gael leader said that while the choice on whether or not to stay in the ­European Union was for the British ­people alone to take, its continued membership “is good for ­Ireland and for relationships on these islands”.

***The Government was ­rallying around Attorney ­General ­Máire Whelan last night amid ­questions over whether she should have foreseen the ­crisis facing the Commission of ­Investigation into IBRC.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton rushed to express “full confidence” in Ms Whelan, while Finance Minister Michael Noonan ­expressed ­surprise that Judge Brian Cregan didn’t feel he had the power to provide a ­meaningful report.

Ministers will today ­discuss whether emergency ­legislation will be required to allow Mr ­Justice Cregan complete his probe into 37 different ­transactions

by IBRC, ­including the sale of contracting firm Siteserv to Denis O’Brien’s ­Millington.

***A strong rise in property prices may boost construction activity in the short-term, but risks a return to another credit-filled property boom, an international think-tank has warned.

In its latest global economic assessment, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)  said the Irish economy will grow robustly but said the risks remain “significant”.

High debt levels leave the country particularly vulnerable to the emergence of another crisis, it said.


Irish Times:

***Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said he is confident of receiving Eu approval for Budget 2016, despite concerns from some troika members that it is too expansionary.

He was speaking as representatives of the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF arrived in Ireland to meet with officials from the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the pillar banks.

Speaking in Brussels ahead of a meeting of European finance ministers, Mr Noonan said he has been assured by the European Commission that the budget will be in line with fiscal rules.

***Irish-listed Tullow Oil may sell part of its stake in a series of east African oil fields after its partner disposed of half of its stake in a deal potentially worth $845m.

Tullow’s partner, Africa Oil, announced yesterday that it sold 50pc of its interest in five fields in Kenya and Ethiopia to Danish firm Maersk for $365m, which could increase to $845m on further payouts.

The Irish Times reports that Tullow may look at reducing its interest in one of the Kenyan fields from 50pc to 30pc ahead of 2017, when it is due to begin spending on developing it for commercial production.

***Greece’s creditors have withheld €2bn in bailout funds from the country, although they have indicated that the funds will be released if Athens presses on with fiscal reforms.

Yesterday’s eurogroup meeting of finance ministers had been due to sign off on the release of the funds, however this has been pushed back following the delay of a number of reforms in Greece.

Senior officials representing the eurogroup will meet no later than next Monday to further assess the issue.


Irish Examiner:

***The pension levy hit workers’ private pensions for almost €2.4bn over a five year period, according to new figures.

The levy was introduced in 2011 at a rate of 0.6pc for the first three years and was then increased to 0.75pc in 2014. It was reduced to 0.15pc in last year’s budget and is set to be abolished entirely by the end of the year.

Figures released to Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath show that the total taken in under the measure since its introduction amounts to €2.393bn.

***Irish building materials giant Kingspan said yesterday that it expects full year profits to hit €250m, a near 70pc year-on-year increase.

In an interim management statement released yesterday the company said that revenues rose 54pc in the third quarter and were 3pc higher on a constant currency basis.

It added that sales in the first nine months of the year jumped 44pc to €2bn, and said it expects to generate profits of €250m, 8pc ahead of analysts forecasts.

***Irish businesses selling into the US should be cautious of a “deluge” of card fraud set to materialise next year, according to a leading cyber security expert.

Pat Phelan, the CEO of fraud prevention firm Trustev, says that the rollout of chip and pin cards in the US will likely reduce cases of fraud in store, but lead to an increase online.

“We expect cards-not-present to double in the US next because what’s happened in Australia and Canada the minute chip and pin comes in it practically eliminates retail fraud [so] the fraudster moves online, so we expect a deluge this year of card not present fraud.”

Online Editors

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