Sunday 25 February 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

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

Irish Independent

* British energy giant Centrica said its €1.1bn acquisition of Bord Gáis Energy has so far worked out better than it anticipated, after the Irish unit posted profits of £30m (€38.5m) last year.

Centrica bought Bord Gáis Energy from the Government in 2014.

The utility group, whose activities also span exploration, trading and production, said yesterday that Bord Gáis Energy generated revenue of £733m (€947m) last year.

* Countries should take advantage of record low interest rates to boost public investment, the OECD has said, as it warned global growth prospects have essentially flat-lined.

In its latest economic assessment, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said the world economy this year will grow no faster than 2015, which it said was the weakest since 2010.

The think-tank said achieving strong growth in the global economy remained "elusive, with only a modest recovery in advanced economies and slower activity in emerging markets.

* Internet giant Amazon has taken the first steps towards building another huge data centre in Dublin.

The company has begun the planning process to prepare the former Jacob's biscuits site in Tallaght for the new development, which will significantly boost its presence in Dublin.

Amazon, headed by founder Jeff Bezos, already has a number of data centres in the capital and plans to build two other facilities at locations around the city.

The Irish Times

* KBC Bank Ireland's future is likely to be decided later this year, according to the bank's chief executive, Wim Verbraeken.

The bank announced its full-year profits yesterday, which saw it swing to a €75m profit.

However, the bank's Belgian parent company has said that it is considering all available options for its Irish arm.

* Over 10 companies have expressed interest int he State's rural broadband project through its eTenders website.

It is the intention of the Government to award two subsidised contracts for the roll-out of broadband to rural Ireland later this year.

The scheme is to have an overall cost of €1.5bn, with the cost being spread out over a 10-year period.

* Real estate investment giant Starwood Capital is to partner with Irish commercial property developer Chartered Land on a €35m campus development in Dublin 4.

Starwood, which acquired the 750,000 sq ft Elm Park campus in January for €190m, will develop the campus to include a sport and leisure centre, significant landscaping, and further amenities.

Chartered Land will undertake a major development of the eight-storey, 174,000 sq ft Pioneer Building, which is prominently located at the front of the campus. The senior vice president of Starwood Capital, Adam Shah, said the Merrion Road site has "exceptional promise".

Irish Examiner

* Minister for jobs, Richard Bruton, had proposed a 30pc flat tax for returning skilled workers as Fine Gael aimed to lure 70,000 emigrants home.

According to a report in the Irish Examiner, the minister had proposed the flat tax as part of the Government's economic plan but didn't make it through.

In correspondence between himself and minister for finance Michael Noonan, Mr Bruton said the new tax scheme would make Ireland one of the most attractive countries in the world.

* The sports management firm led by former Anglo Irish Bank director Fintan Drury lost more than €250,000 in 2013, it has emerged.

Accounts just filed for Platinum One Ltd for that year show a loss of €257,962.

Platinum One has brought Real Madrid to Ireland in the past while Mr Drury served as a former non-executive director of Anglo Irish Bank and last year gave evidence to the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry. A former journalist, Mr Drury now manages the affairs of a host of rugby and soccer stars.

* Ireland's mortgage costs continued to fall as rent costs grew further according to the latest inflation figures released yesterday.

According to the Irish Examiner, the divide between renting and buying could grow even further if the ECB introduces measures to boost the eurozone.

Last month, the cost of private rents grew by 1.2pc and are now 9.4pc up in the year.

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