Monday 18 December 2017

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

Here are the main business stories from this morning's papers

Irish Independent:

***Retail will not see the same boost in employment as other sectors of the economy this year because of the hike in the minimum wage, employers group ISME has warned.

Elsewhere, however, prospects for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are good and the sector could generate an additional 60,000 jobs, if costs are curtailed, ISME said.

Separately, the manufacturing sector is powering ahead on the back of record new order levels, though even its jobs growth is slowing.

***Most UK lawmakers say a third runway at London’s Heathrow is the preferred method of expanding airport capacity in Britain, according to a survey commissioned by the airport’s operators.

A ComRes poll of 150 of Britain’s 650 members of parliament (MPs), conducted as Prime Minister David Cameron again delayed the decision, found 84pc think the UK needed an extra runway in the south east of England.

Of those, two-thirds see Heathrow as the best place to expand. ComRes interviewed 150 MPs in November and December last year.

***Ireland-based drug-maker Shire is in advanced talks to acquire smaller US rivals Baxalta for about $32bn (€29bn) in cash and stock, excluding debt, according to sources.

The two drug-makers may announce a deal as soon as this week, the source added, with the price being discussed is $46.50 to $48 a share.

Final details of the transaction are still being negotiated and the timing and structure of any offer may change, however.


Irish Times:

***New labour market reforms will be brought to Cabinet within the next few weeks, the Irish Times reports.

One of the potential reforms, among other measures, would see a ban on employers offering less than three continuous hours work to staff.

The measure was proposed by an expert group at the university of Limerick that was commissioned by Business Minister Ged Nash to examine zero hours and low hours work.

***The group chief executive of Australian retail giant Harvey Norman has said that she expects strong growth in the company’s operations here.

Speaking to local reporters in recent days Katie Page said she expects sales this year to “grow strongly” in Ireland.

The chain has annual sales of more than €150m in Ireland, although it has accumulated losses of more than €110m since entering the market here during the boom.

***The company behind DVD rental service has gone bust, the Irish Times reports.

A liquidator was appointed to, the owner of Screenclick, in the run up to Christmas.

According to documents filed in the Companies Office the firm is being wound up as “it cannot by reasons of its liabilities continue”. The company previously had a turnover of more than €1m and employed about 12 staff.


Irish Examiner:

***House prices outside of the capital soared during 2015 while the national housing supply stands at its lowest level in a decade.

According to the latest report from property site, the average asking price for a house in Dublin rose by just 2.7pc last year. Outside of the capital average asking prices soared by 13.1pc.

The study also found that the number of houses on the market is at its lowest point in nearly nine years, with just over 25,000 properties for sale across the country.

***The managing director of Fitzers Catering is expecting an 85pc increase in profits this year to about €650,000

Barry Storey said that the business, which employs over 1,200 people, is projecting profits of €650,000 in 2016, almost double the approximate €350,000 recorded in 2015.

Revenues are projected to increase by 16pc to €17.5m in 2016.

***Two more investment banks have reported paying zero tax in Britain in 2014, prompting the opposition Labour party to urge the government to reverse a tax change it made for banks last year.

Citigroup and Credit Suisse disclosed in the past fortnight that their main UK subsidiaries paid no corporate income tax in 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available. This means seven of the ten biggest foreign investment and commercial banks operating in Europe's main investment banking center have said their main British arms paid no tax in that year.

In total the ten banking groups generated over $40bn in fees in Britain in 2014, reported $6.5bn in profit and employed almost 50,000 people. But they contributed just $205m in corporate income tax.

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