Friday 20 September 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:

***Landlords have reacted to Government moves to control rents by pushing through huge increases before the new measures came into effect.

This was confirmed by figures showing rents experienced their strongest rise since the bust in the three months to September.

Economists had warned that introducing a rent freeze would prompt landlords to pre-load rises ahead of the new Government measures due to come into operation.

Now new figures show that those who rent a house are having to pay out €82 more per month than a year ago.

***Mortgage lending in the second half of this year may come in below expectations, hit by Central Bank restrictions and the lack of supply, according to the head of Belgian-owned KBC Bank Ireland.

Yesterday, the bank reported a third-quarter profit of €25m after tax and impairment costs. That reversed a €14m loss made in the same period in 2014 and puts KBC on course to return to a full year profit in 2016.

The return to profit is within its targeted timeframe. KBC Group in Brussels has said it will look at possible options for the Irish unit once it is back profit in 2016. Options could include retaining a stand-alone Irish bank, a sale, or partnership.

***A request for a second judge to be allocated to help investigate transactions at the former Anglo Irish Bank is to be considered by the Cabinet today.

Ministers will be briefed on some of the content from the interim report of Judge Brian Cregan who is the sole member of the Commission of Investigation into IBRC.

However, it is not expected that they will be able to decide on how to try to salvage the commission, amid fears that it will either collapse or be delayed by as much as eight years.


Irish Times:

***The representative body for barristers and lawyers has won major concessions in a planned overhaul of the legal profession, the Irish Times reports.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is expected to bring a memo to Cabinet today seeking approval for changes to the Legal Services Regulation Bill. The bill will mean the law sector will be independently regulated after centuries of self-regulation.

The Bar Council will keep powers to refuse membership of the Law Library to employed barristers or partnerships, although barristers operating outside of the Bar Council will be able to establish a new body for recognition from the Government.

***The European Commission is set to approve Ireland’s 2016 Budget today, the Irish Times reports.

However, officials are expected to express reservations about a €1.5bn in supplementary estimates this year into spending next year.

The Government was obligated to cut the deficit to below 3pc of GDP, however the budget was predicated on a year end deficit of 2.1pc.

***Glanbia’s acquisition of US snacks company ThinkThink could help give the Irish firm “more mass appeal”, according to Goodbody Stockbrokers.

They were commenting on the deal announced yesterday, in which Glanbia is to acquire ThinkThink for $217m.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the year and will be marginally earnings accretive for Glanbia next year.


Irish Examiner:

***The Central Bank has said that its mortgage lending rules are here to stay despite critcisims that they are preventing young couples from buying houses and skewing the peroperty market.

Under the rules those buying a house must pay a 20pc deposit on the property, unless the cost of the building falls below a certain threshold.

Speaking yesterday Stefan Gerlach, the number two in the Central Bank, made it clear that the organisation would not be changing its mind over the controls in the near future, saying: “The very limited evidence we have so far indicates that the measures are functioning as intended”.

***The Mid-West region could lose out on a €1bn investment if a new investor for a gas terminal and power plant can be found.

Shannon LNG, a subsidiary of US oil giant Hess, has so far spent €63m on the planned €600m liquified gas terminal to be built at Ballylongford in Kildare while a €400m combined heat and power plant was planned in tandem with the LNG development.

In accounts just filed Hess said it is in talks with the management of Shannon LNG “with the objective of facilitating a sale of the company.”

***Irish companies lag behind their global counterparts for investment in digital technology, a new study has found.

According to PwC’s 2015 Digital IQ survey just 5pc of Irish companies expect product innovation and none expect enhanced reputations from their use of digital technology.

Other areas Ireland was considered deficient was effectively using digital data and proactive cybersecurity.

Online Editors

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