Wednesday 21 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

* Aviva Ireland bucked the trend by making money in the general insurance market here last year.

It spotted three years ago that there was a problem with rising claims costs, and took action to raise its rates and aggressively fight fraudulent and exaggerated claims.

The company made a profit of €40m last year in general insurance, which includes motor cover for private and commercial drivers and property insurance.

* The Irish economy grew at the fastest pace since 2000 last year accelerating five times quicker than the Eurozone average.

Preliminary figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) confirm that Ireland was by far the fastest growing economy among European peers in 2015.

The standard measure of economic activity gross domestic product (GDP), ended the year up 7.8pc while gross national product (GNP), which excludes some activities of multinationals, rose 5.7pc.

* The European Commission's state aid investigations are a "pure naked revenue grab by the EU against US companies", a top executive with Intel has said.

Ronald Dickel, Intel's vice president for global tax and trade, said US companies in particular were being targeted.

It comes about a month after it emerged that US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had called on the European Union to reconsider tax probes targeting predominantly US companies, arguing that such moves represented disturbing precedents.

The Irish Times

* Ireland's economy is continuing to rapidly expand at the fastest pace since 2000 according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The economy grew by 7.8pc last year with momentum increasing in the final quarter of the year.

The latest figures show a year on year increase of 9.2pc in the last three months of 2015.

* The European Central Bank cut its main interest rate to zero yesterday and moved to buy corporate bonds as part of its stimulus campaign.

ECB president, Mario Draghi, aims to spur growth and inflation within the eurozone and avert deflation.

Mr Draghi said that interest rates will stay low for a very long period of time.

* Ikea, the Swedish flat-pack retailer, nearly doubled its profit last year as sales jumped 17pc to just under €132m in the 12-month period ending August 2015.

The firm posted a pre-tax profit of €13.2m, up from €7.2m in the year before.

Ikea, which only has one store in Ireland, paid out €1.55m in tax last year, an increase of over a third.

Irish Examiner

* Despite Ireland's quickly expanding economy, the number of people in mortgage arrears remained high last year.

At the end of 2015 there were more than 36,000 owner-occupier mortgage holders in arrears for two years or more.

It is understood that those in such arrears have little prospect of successfully repaying their debts.

* The Irish arm of UK specialist coffee retailer, Caffe Nero believes that there are strong prospects for the growth of branded coffee in Ireland as start-up costs contributed to the firm recording a loss of €430,000 last year.

The firm is planning to invest €20m here by opening 40 stores and creating up to 350 new jobs.

The company's second set of accounts lodged with the Companies Office show that the business increased its revenues nearly nine fold going from €77,000 to €687,000 in the 12 months to the end of May last.

* C&C, the company that makes Bulmers cider, expects to post a 10.4pc reduction in operating profits when it posts its annual results later this year.

The firm expects its profits to be around €103m for 2015, which is a 10pc dip on the €115m operating profit it posted for 2014.

C&C reported an increase in trading in Scotland in the last quarter of the year, however Bulmers lost ground in Ireland.

Online Editors

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