Monday 19 March 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

* First-time buyers are being pushed out of the property market, with just over 1,000 would-be buyers obtaining approval for a mortgage in January.

The figure was down 321 on the same month last year, and is also lower than the figure for the previous month, banks said.

It is among a raft of new data that show the property and mortgage markets are under strain.

* Strong car sales in January helped lift the overall volume of retail sales figures, with a headline expansion of 4.1pc in the month.

Consumer spending, a key measure of economic vitality, was up more than 10pc in January, compared to a year earlier.

Car sales were particularly robust in the opening month of the year, helped by the switch to '16 registration numbers.

* Staff at a Paddy Power shop in Britain were told by a senior colleague to encourage a gambling addict to visit the outlet more often, while its online arm failed to ascertain the source of funds used by a man who it later transpired had stolen £250,000 (€319,000) from clients at two banks where he had worked, a critical UK report has said.

The Irish gambling group - which merged this year with Betfair - has been slammed by the UK's Gambling Commission for its "serious" failings, and voluntarily agreed to pay £280,000 (€357,000) to a "socially responsible cause" in lieu of a financial penalty.

As part of a voluntary settlement, Paddy Power also agreed to the commissioning of an independent, third-party review of its own anti-money laundering and social responsibility controls.

The Irish Times

* The cost of State borrowing eased yesterday with markets remaining largely unfazed by uncertainty surrounding the formation of a new government.

In a report in The Irish Times a rating agency warned against prolonged political uncertainty.

Meanwhile analysts questioned whether or not the a lengthy government-forming period would lead to a delay in AIB being nationalised.

* Sports Direct, the Mike Ashley's UK-based retailer that controls the Heatons brand, is said to be looking at the Clerys building as part of its plans for Irish expansion.

According to a report in The Irish Times, representatives for Mr Ashely said he had "nothing to say" in relation to the Clerys site.

The site is currently owned by the Natrium consortium, who bought it for €29m last June.

* Frank Cushnahan, a former Nama adviser at the centre of the row over the sale of Project Eagle, has claimed he was meant to receive €7.7m for putting the deal in place.

According to a report in The Irish Times, Mr Cushnahan was secretly recorded saying that £6m sterling moved from Belfast law firm Tughans to an Isle of Man bank account in 2014 was meant for him.

Project Eagle was a portfolio of Nama property loans valued at £4.3bn that was sold by Nama in April 2014 for £1.3bn.

Irish Examiner

* Motor insurance costs look set to rsie again this year with premium hikes of up to 15pc predicted, despite the fact that premiums rose substantially last year.

FBD has warned the industry still hasn't raised the rates enough in spite of a 31pc rise in premiums last year.

The insurer is predicting rises in its own motor policies of between 10pc and 15pc this year.

* Consultants acting for Donald Trump have warned that if the US billionaire doesn't secure planning permission for a 200,000-tonne 'wall' of rock armour to protect his Doonbeg golf resort, it risks potential closure.

The stark warning is contained in new plans lodged by the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel with Clare County Council for the construction of a €10m, 2.8km-long wall of limestone rock armour on Doughmore Beach at the golf resort.

The wall is being put in place to prevent the golf course from being washed away by future Atlantic storms.

* PCH chief executive, Liam Casey, has ruled out further jobs cuts after the firm signalled its intention to cut up to 250 roles at its Chinese operations.

Mr Casey said the reduction in staff was part of a "realignment" of its business.

Following the decision PCH will continue to put a stronger emphasis on its operations in San Francisco as demand for more complex products increases.

Online Editors

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