Thursday 22 February 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

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

Irish Independent

* The as yet unknown budgetary policies of the next government represent the key risk to Ireland's public finances, analysts at Moody's have warned.

Moody's, the last of the big credit agencies not to have returned Ireland to a top-rated "A" credit status, is now unlikely to move the Irish sovereign's rating before May next year - well after a new administration is in place.

"The key risk (to Irish finances) is the fiscal policy of the next Government. We will monitor any indications of a return to boom era policies," Moody's sovereign rating analyst for Ireland, Kathrin Muehlbronner, said yesterday.

* The euro fell to an eight-month low yesterday against the dollar amid the prospect that the European Central Bank (ECB) will announce further stimulus measures later this week to boost the Eurozone economy.

The meeting of the Governing Council on Thursday is the focus of many investors and analysts.

They expect ECB President Mario Draghi to announce an extension of the bank's quantitative easing programme as he attempts to increase inflation in the Eurozone, and cut interest rates on euro deposits.

* Tradesmen are attempting to flush out tax dodging by launching a new cashless online payments system. has launched what it says is a secure card payments system operated online, which it hopes will stop tax evasion in the sector.

The new system will also provide a money trail if there is a dispute between a homeowner and a tradesman.

The Irish Times

* Health insurance policies at Aviva are set to rise by an average of over 5pc in the new year. The increase could see some families costs rising by €175.

The company, which has around 300,000 customers is set to offer a €100 discount on children's health insurance as part of the Aviva Select Plus plan.

Chief executive at Aviva, James Parker, said that the company will bring in the increase to match the claims that are coming in.

* Minister for health, Leo Varadkar, has initiated a late effort to attain a further €100m in health expenditure as the government deals with exchequer receipts being in excess of €3bn.

A report in the Irish Times says that the decision on the added spending will come tomorrow when tax returns for the past 11 months are due.

The Department of Finance is said to be predicting that it may miss its budget deficit of 2.7pc of gross domestic product (GDP) and end up with 1.4pc of GDP.

* EU member states may have to inform one another ahead of implementing tax initiatives as the EU plans to curb tax avoidance.

An EU economics committee will consider the move today which would also see the European Commission change the system where money that is recovered during a state-aid investigation is returned to the member state which granted the illegal tax break.

The latter could have a consequence for Ireland should the EU rule against Apple in its ongoing investigation.

Irish Examiner

* Arrow, one of Ireland's large food processors, is back in profit following the impacts of the horsemeat scandal in 2013 after filing a pre-tax profit of €19m.

For 2013 the company had filed pre-tax losses of €11.27m, however in 2014 it experienced a 6pc increase in revenues up to €446m.

The Queally family-owned firm was impacted by the European beef mislabelling issue, which hurt demand for some of its beef and frozen-ready products.

* The housing crisis is now starting to affect business growth outside of Dublin as Cork-based businesses are finding it difficult to find suitable residential accommodation for employees.

According to a report in the Examiner, head of Pricewaterhouse Coopers' Cork office, Ger O'Mahoney, more accommodation is becoming essential if business is to continue to grow.

While Mr O'Mahoney says that the problem in Cork isn't as severe as Dublin he says that it will soon become so if change isn't made.

* Profits at eBay's Irish arm fell by 6pc last year despite the fact that it experienced a €6.1m jump in revenues.

In the twelve months of last year revenue at eBay's Irish arm grew to €59.6m however, operating lease charges of €1.5m and €3.1m in non-cash depreciation costs played a significant role in reducing profits.

The number of workers in the firm last year also grew to 735 off the back of the company's expansion in European customer support activities.

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