Friday 20 April 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

* Sterling has rebounded against the euro to its strongest level since mid-March as the 'remain' side in the Brexit campaign gains momentum. But with just under two months to go until the crucial vote, Irish exporters are likely to face further currency volatility.

Although the UK currency has strengthened, it's still trading at 77 pence to the €1, much weaker than last November's 69 pence level.

Against the dollar, sterling jumped above $1.45 to its highest since mid-February, extending a week of gains, as investors believed voters would opt to stay in the European Union come June 23.

* The global financial network that banks use to transfer billions of euro every day has warned its customers that its system has come under attack.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) bank identifier code (BIC) is used by 11,000 financial institutions in 200 countries to move billions of euro between banks and across international borders.

Swift has told its wholesale customers that it was aware of "a number of recent cyber incidents" where attackers had sent fraudulent messages over the system.

* State-owned health insurer VHI is set to announce that it is entering the life insurance market.

The move is expected to put further downward pressure on premiums for consumers.

It is the first expansion of the product offering from the VHI since it was authorised by the Central Bank last July.

The Irish Times

* The Department of Finance has warned that prudent financial management is needed to offset international risks to the Irish economy.

According to a report in The Irish Times, the Department has also updated its growth forecast for this year and next.

In a submission due to be sent to the European Commission, the Department expects 4.9pc growth in gross domestic product this year and 3.9pc growth next year.

* Sales in Apple's iPhone declined for the first time ever as the firm posted its quarterly results yesterday.

There had been much speculation prior to the publication of the results that Apple's flagship product had actually been hit by a slowdown.

Apple also said it was increasing its capital return programme by $50bn, which would be partly funded through a $35bn increase in its share buy back.

* Shares in micro-blogging site Twitter slid by 11pc yesterday after the firm filed lower-than-expected revenue for the first quarter.

The company has had to deal with slow growth in its user base with many highlighting a complicated interface as the problem.

Updated revenue forecasts for the second quarter of the year are also lower than analysts expectations, with Twitter estimating an intake of between $590m and $610m.

Irish Examiner

* Shares in Dublin-headquartered pharma firm Icon slipped by as much as 7pc yesterday despite the fact it reported 3.2pc increase in revenue.

In the first three months of the year Icon reported revenue of $400.5m.

The company, which employs 1,000 people across its offices in Leopardstown and Limerick, reported operating profit growth of 14pc up to $76m.

* New projections from the Department of Finance have shown that the Irish economy will grow strongly this year but that the next government must be wary of exterior risks.

The department predicts GDP growth of 4.9pc this year in forecasts prepared for the European Commission.

The departments predictions compares to the Central bank, which recently raised its forecasts to 5.1pc this year and 4.2pc next year.

* Exploration licenses in the Celtic Sea that belonged to Irish oil firm Lansdowne Oil have expired in what is a new hit to the troubled company.

The licenses expired after the company failed to find farm-out partners to further develop the assets.

In 2014 the company's losses increased by 32pc to €1.8m.

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