Saturday 24 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:

***Irish telecoms firm Viatel, a subsidiary of Digiweb, has been sold to US firm Zayo for €95m in cash.

Colorado-based Zayo is only buying the non-Irish interests of Viatel, meaning neither Digiweb, which operates a consumer broadband brand here, nor Viatel’s Irish operations, are part of the sale.

Digiweb, founded by entrepreneur Colm Piercy, merged with Viatel, which was previously based in London, in 2013. The combined entity had revenues at the time of €60m and was generating €8m in annual profits.

***The Government has ruled out separating the probe into the sale of Siteserv from the stalled Commission of Investigation into IBRC, as demanded by the Opposition.

As fresh details emerged about what led Mr Justice Brian Cregan to write to Taoiseach Enda Kenny warning he was “not in a position” to proceed with elements of his work, Opposition TDs pushed for the element regarding the sale of Siteserv to businessman Denis O’Brien to be prioritised.

But a Government source said it would be impossible to take Siteserv as a standalone case due to overlapping or interrelated transactions.

***Vodafone has arrested a declining Irish mobile customer base and stabilised revenues, according to financial results published yesterday.

Despite losing 38,000 mobile customers here over the last 12 months, the company has added subscribers in successive quarters for the first time in two years. In the last six months, it added 9,000 customers in Ireland, the results show. The gains come after a period when it lost over 100,000 mobile subscribers here – mostly prepaid customers.

The operator, which remains Ireland’s largest with 38.5pc of the market, also added a small number of landline customers.


Irish Times:

***Volkswagen has warned the Government that extra tax may be due on Irish cars affected by the company’s emissions scandal.

The German carmaker warned the Government last week that about 800,000 cars sold across its brands were sold with software that understated the amount of CO2 they produce.

In a letter to finance minister Michael Noonan, seen by the Irish Times, Volkswagen chief executive Matthias Mueller said that as CO2 values are relevant for taxation “this could affect taxes or other public already assessed or to be assessed”.

***Revenues at Yahoo’s main Irish unit more than trebled to €320m last year after the internet giant rerouted its European business through Ireland.

This compared to sales of €98m the year before. However profits before tax only increased by 50pc to €3.7m.

The company’s European and Middle East tax bill fell from €1.1m to about €500,000, mainly due to the application of a deferred tax credit.

***Irish conglomerate DCC has said that it could spend up to £400m a year on acquisitions without having to seek extra funding.

Speaking to the Irish Times DCC chief executive Tommy Breen said the firm could “comfortably” do buyouts of £200m, adding: “We could actually manage double that...£400m - the balance sheet would allow us to do that.”

Mr Breen was speaking after the company reported a strong set of half year results for the six months to end September, with operating profit rising by 26pc to £88.4m.


Irish Examiner:

***Builders who are planning to develop homes in Dublin and Cork will be offered incentives under a package announced by the Government.

Under the scheme builders who develop houses in Dublin or Cork with a sale price of less than €300,000 or €250,000 respectively will receive a rebate of up to €8,500.

The new plan will only allow landlords to raise their tenant’s rent once every two years.

***The president of the Cork Chamber of Commerce has urged the Government to focus on encouraging house building in urban areas outside the capital.

In a speech to the Chamber’s annual Dublin dinner Barrie O’Connell also said that Nama could play a larger role in stimulating building outside of Dublin.

He said it was “not right” that 90pc of the agency’s projects are focused in the Dublin area.

***Shannon-based engineering services firm Mincon struck a cautious note yesterday as it announced its third quarter results, even though revenue rose by 43pc year-on-year to €19.3m.

Although much of this was due to acquisitions, stripping that out showed third quarter revenue rose 15pc year-on-year and 4pc against the second quarter, bucking the trend compared to many related companies operating in the mostly depressed mining sector.

Despite the strong performance the company emphasised caution, saying: “The business environment in the mining segment, [which accounts for] approximately 60pc of group turnover, of our business remains challenging and we have no evidence that demand will change significantly in the short term.”

Online Editors

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