The Best of the Weekend Business Papers 19 July 2020

July 19


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  • The Business Post leads with news of the economic stimulus plan to be announced this week
  • The Sunday Independent says the hotel industry will lose €200m due to cancelled weddings
  • The Sunday Times reports that the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will continue until 2021
  • The FT claims Donald Trump is considering adding Chinese app TikTok to a blacklist
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that the US jobs market recovery is losing momentum


“Masks are the new bra…when you don’t wear one everyone notices.”

– Judy Murray, mother of tennis player Andy Murray, joins the debate on face coverings.






“Stimulus plan: businesses to get longer-term loans and lower interest rates,” is the splash on this week’s paper. Michael Brennan reports that businesses are to be offered bigger reopening grants and low-interest loans with long repayments dates as part of the government’s multibillion-euro stimulus plan due to be announced this week. The plan will also include a National Retrofit Plan to make 50,000 homes energy efficient and create jobs for construction workers as well as a higher “restart grant” for non-rate paying businesses such as B&B owners, plumbers, electricians, and carpenters.

Also on the front page, Aiden Corkery reports that the Low Pay Commission has decided to defer a decision on increasing the minimum wage amid concerns over employers’ affordability to pay it. It marks the first time in four years that the Commission hasn’t recommended an increase in the minimum wage which has gone from €8.65 an hour in 2016 to €10.10 an hour today.

On page two, it’s reported that Leo Varadkar has held discussions with the country’s banks over what options should be afforded to mortgage holders who cannot afford to pay their mortgages when the current round of payment breaks ends. According to the report, over 70,000 mortgage holders have been forced to take payment breaks on their loans and that these are due to expire in September.

On the same page, it’s reported that Ryanair is kicking up a stink over the government’s plan to publish a “green list” of countries that are safe to travel to. Unsurprisingly, Ryanair says all of Europe should be open for flying as per the European Centre for Disease Control guidelines. “We have a sign outside saying Ireland is closed for business,” said Eddie Wilson, Ryanair chief executive. “Travel is not the bogeyman,” he added.

On page seven are details of a pair of warnings the government has received from the Department of Finance (DOF). In the first, Michael Brennan reports that the DOF has warned the government that the annual interest bill on Ireland’s national debt could double to €10bn. Separately, Aiden Corkery reports that the DOF has warned that the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme is open to “significant deadweight, waste, and abuse”.

There are plenty of column inches parsing the implications of Ireland’s court win in the Apple tax case. Ian Guider hails the judgment as a “significant victory” but cautions that “it is clear that Europe is not backing down on corporate tax reform”. The headline: “Tech giant and state won the battle, but tax war is far from over” is the similarly circumspect headline over Aiden Regan’s piece.

In Brief

  • The speed limit on motorways could be reduced to 110km/h under Green Party proposals
  • Medical consultants are the best-paid group of public servants reports Michael Brennan
  • Developer Simon Kelly is launching a commercial property fund aimed at smaller investors 
  • Lidl Ireland has hired 700 new workers to cope with increased health and safety requirements


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“Hotel revenues to take €200m hit as weddings cancelled” is this week’s top business headline. The claim comes on the back of figures from corporate recovery partner Crowe Ireland which said that there have been 4,000 fewer weddings compared to last year adding that up to 60 hotels are in danger of going out of business with the loss of 7,000 jobs.

Staying with the hotel business and Pat McCann, CEO of listed hotel group Dalata has said he plans for the company to make the most of the current chaos in the sector with the aim of snapping hotels that don’t make it through the crisis. “Our plan is to be in a strong position to take advantage of some of those casualties,” he unabashedly tells the paper.

Also on the front of the business pages Sean Pollack reports that around €80m worth of merger and acquisition activity within the corporate finance group of Grant Thornton was paused at the onset of the pandemic. However, Patrick Dillon, head of corporate finance at the company, said he believed that most of the deals would be completed.

In Brief

  • Revenue has contacted 5,000 companies over their eligibility for the Temporary Wage Subsidy
  • Norwegian seafood company Mowi said it plans to invest €22m to create up to four fish farms
  • Enterprise Ireland has allocated just €20m of an EU-approved rescue fund for struggling firms
  • Advertising spend is forecasted to decline by 17% in 2020 according to ad agency Group M
  • Fertility clinic chain Repromad is set to open two new clinics bringing its total in Ireland to 12
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As with the Business Post the Sunday Times also leads with news on this week’s economic stimulus plan. It reports that the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will be extended until the spring of 2021 although it notes that the level of the payment will be steadily cut. The paper also reveals that restart grants will be doubled to between €20,000 and €25,000.

Onto the business pages and the top story is that more than half of public companies’ Covid-19 profit warnings have failed to provide investors with enough information for them to assess how the business would be affected by the pandemic. That’s according to a study headed by Niamh Brennan, professor of management at UCD. The study was based on 428 profit warnings issued between January and April by companies listed in London.

Negative interest rates cost Apple €56m of the funds it set aside in an escrow account as it awaited last week’s court ruling on whether it had received illegal state aid. The lost interest pales into insignificance compared to the €14.3bn Apple deposited in the account in 2018.

In Brief

  • Construction group Sicon has projected that revenues could fall by up to 33% this year
  • Tesco said it saw a spike in the number of over-65s shopping online during the pandemic
  • Solar energy company Amarenco Solar is to raise €10m through the issue of loan notes
  • ESB has acquired a number of solar projects from Terra Solar II, a renewables developer
  • Cosgrave Property Group has applied for fast-track planning for over 1,000 homes in Wicklow
  • Property group Batra has lodged plans for a 111-bed co-living development in Ballsbridge
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TikTok, the popular Chinese video app, could be put on a blacklist by US President Donald Trump according to one of this week’s top stories. The move would effectively prevent people in the US from accessing the app which the paper says is a bid to prevent China from obtaining personal data on US citizens.
Turning to airlines and British Airways has accelerated the retirement of its fleet of Boeing 747s due to Covid-19. The airline said its fleet of 747 jets would not return to the skies after the pandemic due to their fuel inefficiency compared to modern jets.
Streaming giant Netflix enjoyed another strong quarter adding 10m subscribers in the April – June period. The company, which has seen subscriber numbers surge due to Covid-19, warned that its pandemic bounce was over and that it would add just 2.5m subscribers in the third quarter. 


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Unsurprisingly given the surge in coronavirus infections, The Wall Street
Journal leads with the news that the US labour market recovery is faltering. The paper reports that job openings in July are down from last month while Google searches for “file for unemployment” were creeping up.


China has become the first major economy to return to growth since the onset of Covid-19, according to another top story. China’s economy grew 3.2% from a year earlier meaning that the country has avoided going into a technical recession which is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Finally, just as Disney manages to reopen one theme park it is forced to close another. The company said it was closing Hong Kong Disney less than a month after it reopened it amid an increase in coronavirus cases in the city. The move comes days after Disney World in Orlando reopened its gates – just as Florida hit a record of more than 15,000 new coronavirus cases.


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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 it to friends or colleagues and get in touch if you wish to add contacts to the mailing list.
Have a good week. 


Shay Dalton 
Managing Director – Lincoln Recruitment


T: +353 1 661 0444/



A:5 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2




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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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