The Best of the Weekend Business Papers 19 April 2020

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  • The Business Post claims that the state’s planned takeover of private hospitals is in doubt
  • The Sunday Independent reports that house valuations have fallen by 10% due to Covid-19
  • The Sunday Times reports that the construction industry is preparing to open sites on 5 May
  • The Financial Times leads with a warning from the Bank of England of “deep scars” on the economy
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that US jobless claims have topped 22m for a single month





“We’re in dialogue with regulators who are sitting in their bedrooms inventing restrictions such as taking out the middle seats, which is just nonsense.”

– Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary on the prospects for air travel in an age of Covid-19.





The state’s planned takeover of private hospitals due to Covid-19 has been thrown into doubt according to this week’s Business Post. Susan Mitchell reports that the plan has hit a snag after consultants voiced concerns over plans to switch them to public contracts for the duration of the pandemic.The UK’s Brexit transition period should be extended to avoid trade “mayhem” according to a report on page two of the paper. It comes as the EU and the UK formally agreed to resume negotiations over Brexit next week.

On page four, it’s reported that Ireland is set to miss its renewable energy targets and ranks 26th out of 28 European countries on progress so far. The findings are contained in a new report from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland being published this week.

Staying with the environment, and Ryanair was the seventh biggest polluter in the EU last year according to new data published by the Emissions Trading Scheme. Interestingly, of the top ten carbon emitters in the EU in 2019, Ryanair is the only one that is not a large coal power plant.

On page 26, there is an opinion piece by Dr. Brian Keegan, director of public policy at Chartered Accountants Ireland calling for cash infusions for businesses beyond the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. “The key guidance from accountancy is clear: nothing kills a business quicker than a lack of cashflow,” he writes.

On page six, Ian Guider reports that the Central Bank has heightened its scrutiny of Ireland’s funds industry in the wake of last month’s financial market turmoil. Guider writes that Gabriel Makhlouf, the Central Bank governor, said the level of non-bank financial intermediation in Ireland warranted “extra attention” to determine if it could pose a risk to the financial system.

In another story involving Makhlouf, the Central Bank has predicted that consumer spending could plummet by as much as €2.6bn in April compared to the same month last year. It comes after Makhlouf warned in a blog post that: “The global economy faces a sharp slowdown which is projected to be worse than the global financial crisis.”

Killian Woods and Tine-Marie O’Neill look the prospects for the retail sector which lobby group Retail Excellence says could suffer 110,000 permanent job-losses from the pandemic. “Considerable resilience will be required to weather the economic downturn expected in the latter half of this year,” they write.

In Brief

  • Irish fruit growers plans to fly in 1,500 seasonal workers to pick fruit during the pandemic
  • The number of vehicles being declared off the road in March was up 25% compared to last year
  • Sports footwear brand Asics plans to open its first standalone store in Dublin later this year
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House valuations by banks have fallen by 10% according to the top business story in this week’s Sunday Independent. The paper reports on claims by mortgage brokers that banks have been putting valuations on some properties lower than agreed sale prices in recent days. Brokers are dubbing the gap in valuations the ‘Covid caveat’.
In another top story, Samantha McCaughren reports that the landlord of the Omni Park shopping centre in Santry has threatened its tenants with legal action over unpaid rents. In a letter seen by the paper, the Omni Park Consortium told tenants saying they can pay their rents monthly to aid cashflow but that no other concessions will be granted. The letter goes on to say that “legal action will commence where tenants fail to pay their rent and service charges.”
Sean Pollack reports that Dublin IT firm Datasolutions has announced record revenue of €74m in the year to March 2020. The company, which counts Check Point, Citrix, HPE Aruba and Nutanix among its customers, says it is targeting €100m in revenues by March 2022.
In Brief
  • An examiner has been appointed to Dublin-based regional airline CityJet
  • The number of sponsorship deals has dropped by 14% in the first three months of the year
  • Nutribrand has expressed doubt over its ability to continue as a going concern


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The construction industry is plotting a course to return to work on 5 May, according to the top story in the Sunday Times. It reports that the Construction Industry Federation will tell workers to drive to building sites alone and work different shifts in a bid to ensure social distancing on construction sites.

Onto the business pages and the top story is that insurance companies have told the Central Bank it would cost them up to €20bn to compensate all businesses with cover for notifiable diseases for earnings they will lose during the coronavirus pandemic. “No insurance market in the world provides widespread insurance coverage for pandemics,” says industry trade body Insurance Ireland.

Staying with insurance, and with most of us not driving our cars and a big drop off in claims, motor insurers are under “mounting pressure” to offer partial rebates to policyholders. It comes after health insurers last week confirmed refunds for private hospital cover for 2.3m customers.

Niall Brady reports that Ulster Bank has been accused of holding up hundreds of mortgages approved before its credit rules were tightened because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s claimed that those affected applied for their mortgages before 9 April when Ulster Bank tightened its credit rules.

In Brief

  • Sales of houses and apartments fell by 13% in March according to the Property Price Register
  • Cork tech start-up Workvivo has opened an office in California to drive US expansion plans
  • McDonalds is revamping its kitchens to allow for social distancing when restrictions are lifted
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“BoE warns forecast 35% drop in economy will leave deep scars,” is the front page headline on this week’s FT. The paper reports that the Bank of England has backed forecasts that the UK economy had already plunged 35% since the coronavirus lockdown and warned that there could be “persistent scarring” to the economy that would create a lasting hangover.

The worst of the coronavirus may have passed for China, however new figures show that its economy shrank by 6.8% at the start of the year. The figures mark the first time in more than 40 years that China’s economy has shrunk in size.

One company cleaning up due to the coronavirus pandemic is Procter & Gamble. The household goods firm has reported its biggest quarterly rise in US sales in decades as consumers in lockdown stocked up on cleaning essentials from washing up liquid to laundry detergent.

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The Wall Street Journal leads with news of an unemployment “tsunami”  in the US after jobless-claims topped 22m over the past month. It comes as the Labour Department reported that another 5.2m Americans filed for unemployment last week.
It was another bad week for jobs, but it’s been another good one for stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2% last week, extending its rally over the past two weeks to 15%. Analysts say the Federal Reserve’s massive stimulus plan is the reason for the surge.
Finally, shares in the drugmaker Gilead jumped by nearly 10% last Friday after a doctor in Chicago said that one of the company’s drugs appeared to help coronavirus patients. According to the doctor, of 125 coronavirus patients enrolled in two remdesiver trials, sponsored by Gilead, only two had died, while most had been discharged from hospital.


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All views are strictly my own brief interpretation of the articles in the various publications and not intended to be comprehensive. 
Please feel free to forward to friends or colleagues and get in touch if you wish to add contacts to the mailing list.
Stay safe & well.


Shay Dalton 
Managing Director – Lincoln Recruitment
A: 5 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2




© 2020 All Rights Reserved – Lincoln Recruitment Specialists

About the Author

Shay Dalton

Shay Dalton

Managing Director 16498583

Shay Dalton is the Managing Director of Lincoln Recruitment Group. Shay is a qualified ACCA Accountant with over 20 years’ experience specialising in the placement of senior positions across a broad spectrum of Accountancy and Finance positions within the industrial and financial services sectors. Having been involved in the establishment of some of the most respected financial recruitment brands in the Irish market, Shay subsequently set up Lincoln Recruitment Specialists in 2008. He also hold’s an MSc in Organisational Management and is a member of BPS, qualified to conduct and interpret psychometric testing as well an EQi testing.

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