Monday 23 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:

***Dublin has lost out on two foreign direct investment projects in recent times because of a lack of office space, it has been claimed.

John Moran, who leads the Irish arm of property broker JLL, told a Dublin Chamber of Commerce briefing that two companies who had looked at Ireland for investment switched to other countries due in part to the cost and shortage of office space here. An IDA spokesman, however, said foreign firms continue to find space here.

Meanwhile, Cork risks missing out on up to 1,000 jobs after a planning application for the first building at the proposed Cork Science Park was turned down.

***Irish home-grown companies are overly dependent on the domestic market leaving them particularly vulnerable, the European Commission has said.

The Brussels-based body also warned of the high interest costs for SME loans in Ireland.

In a wide-ranging new report focusing on the SME sector, the Commission said the Government needs to do more to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses are consulted on business-related legislation.

Overall, however, the Commission said Ireland has one of the most friendly environments for SMEs in Europe.

***The impact on the Irish economy of a UK exit from the EU is impossible to quantify, the chief economist at the State’s debt management agency has said.

Rossa White of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), inset, identified trade and border issues as being the main areas of concern in the event that Britain withdraws from the European Union.

However he said he sees opportunities for Ireland in terms of foreign direct investment and financial services.


Irish Times:

***Telecoms group Eir is in talks to acquire Dublin-based television broadcaster Setanta Sports, the Irish Times reports.

The newspaper says that talks are at an advanced stage and a deal is likely to be completed in 2016 as long as it gets regulatory approval.

It adds that Setanta’s majority shareholder and co-founder Mickey O’Rourke would remain with the business for a period once the deal is completed.

***Bank of Scotland Ireland’s (BOSI) boom-era expansion in Ireland was a “blueprint for rapid uncontrolled growth with inadequate risk mitigation”.

A damning report into the wider failure of UK lender HBOS has detailed the bank’s property-led expansion in Ireland and Australia in the run-up to the global financial crash.

By the time the plug was pulled on the lender’s Irish operations, which had been signalling its intent to become a major force in Irish banking, it racked up losses of £10.9bn (€15.53m).

***The State is to convene its first European Financial Forum at Dublin Castle in January as part of its drive to boost the number of those employed in the IFSC by 10,000 over the next five years.

Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris said the event will bring together high-level figures in areas such as insurance, banking and fintech with senior regulators and policymakers.

The aim is to establish the summit as an annual event.


Irish Examiner:

***Hundreds of jobs are set to be announced in Cork today as a private hospital and an outsourcing company announce separate expansion plans.

Outsourcing firm Voxpro is understood to be increasing its workforce significantly. The firm has about 850 staff and has stated its intent to break the 1,100 mark.

The Bon Secours Hospital on College Road is expected to announce that work on a multi-million euro investment will begin next year, providing work for hundreds of construction staff and for dozens of medical staff once it is opened.

***Pfizer’s talks to acquire Allergan in a $150bn deal that would see the US drug giant redomicile in Ireland accelerated yesterday, as the US Treasury prepared to clamp down further on such tax inversions.

Pfizer is negotiating a price of $370 to $380 for each Allergan share, a person familiar with the discussions said, asking not to be identified because the talks are confidential.

Allergan shares ended trading yesterday at $310.8 per share.

While negotiations have made progress in recent days, an agreement is not imminent and its timing remains uncertain following the Treasury’s disclosure that it would seek to tighten the rules on inversions, the source added.

***A senior Government official has said the Central Bank needs to “satisfy themselves that they is compliant with the law” after it was revealed that some senior staff at the organisation have had retention payments worth 21pc of their salaries while other staff faced cuts.

The Central Bank confirmed yesterday about 30 staff, most of whom are in junior management positions, shared €500,000 in extra funds last year.

Speaking to the Public Accounts Committee the Secretary General at the Department of Public Expenditure said he and his colleagues were unaware of the agreement.

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