The Best of the Weekend Business Papers 21 March 2021

April 9

 

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BUSINESS PAPERS – THE MAIN TALKING POINTS
·   The Business Post says Ireland’s share of an EU Covid recovery fund will be cut by €350m
·   The Sunday Independent says construction firms are facing mounting pressure from investors
·   The Sunday Times reports that RTE enjoyed a huge Covid-related bounce in 2020
·   The Financial Times reports that Stripe is the most valuable private company in Silicon Valley
·   The Wall Street Journal says Google is to spend $7bn this year expanding its US office network
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
To foster the culture of collaboration which (we) and other companies believe cannot be replicated with remote working.
Tic Tok explains why they are seeking offie capacity for 2,000 in Dublin
THE BUSINESS POST
“Ireland’s share of EU recovery fund to be cut by €352 million”, is the headline over one of this week’s top stories. Daniel Murray reports that the European Commission plans to slash Ireland’s share of a €750bn Covid recovery fund by around €350m due to better than expected GDP figures. The news is likely to cause anger among the political establishment with economist John Fitzgerald saying that GDP was an “inappropriate measure” of real-income in Ireland.
Also on the cover, it’s reported that would-be buyers of high-end electric or plug-in hybrid cars could lose up to €5,000 in government grants under plans being put forward by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan. Ryan wants to exclude expensive SUVs and sports models, some of which cost in excess of €100,000, from the grant scheme in favour of cheaper models. The move would hit potential buyers of hybrid SUVs made by Audi, BMW and Tesla.
Turning to the inside pages and there is continued coverage of embattled stockbroker Davy which was fined over €4m by the Central Bank earlier this month. Aaron Rogan and Peter O’Dwyer report that an external team commissioned by Davy to review staff trading at the firm will be free to investigate earlier trades – if they have reason to suspect wrongdoing. Separately, Roisin Burke reports that Tony Garry, the former head of equities at Davy, has stepped down from the board of Home Instead, the senior care business where he is an investor.
A number of senior executives at Irish nutrition firm Glanbia have hit the paydirt after they were granted share awards worth more than €7.5m at the company. Among them is managing director Siobhan Talbot, who was granted more than 233,000 shares at a share price of just under €12.20, worth around €2.9m.
Turning to airlines and on page seven Peter O’Dwyer reports on Aer Lingus’ plans by to get us all flying again when air travel fully resumes. He writes that the airline is to begin trialling “document verification technology” to enable easy exchange and verification of Covid-19 test results and vaccine certificates. Ryanair launched a similar “Covid-19 travel wallet” on its app earlier this month. Meanwhile on page eight, Killian Woods reports that Emirates Airlines is considering boosting its cargo business out of Dublin as a short-term method of growing its weekly flights from Ireland.
In brief
·   Irish home alarm monitoring firm Home Secure was sold to Norway’s Sector Alarm for €25m
·   Hoteliers Ray Byrne and Eoin Doyle are to build 10 “micro-sleeper” hotels in Cork and Dublin
·   Nursing home group SignaCare is being bought by Virtue elder care group for around €35m
·   Cartoon Saloon has launched a merchandising arm to capitalise on its cartoon productions
·   Aptiv, the car tech firm, posted more than $1bn in revenues through its Dublin office in 2019
The Sunday Business Post is a digital subscription. We encourage you to support quality journalism and subscribe or buy the physical newspaper. Subscribe here >
THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT
Investors criticise State shutdown of construction work,” is the headline over this week’s top business story. Ferghal O’Connor and Sean Pollack report that “pressure is mounting” on Irish construction firms from their international backers and financiers over the continued shutdown of the construction sector. According to the report, international clients are “incredulous” as to why Ireland’s construction sector remains closed.
A picture of Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll also graces the cover of the business pages over the headline “O’Driscoll backing e-scooter tech firm as part of €400k investment”. Samantha McCaughren reports that O’Driscoll, and two business partners, have stumped up €400,000 to invest in the Irish e-scooter start-up Luna.
In the inside pages it’s reported that nearly a third of businesses think that Covid-19 will create more opportunities for mergers and acquisitions. That’s according to the Global Business Report by professional services firm Grant Thornton which added that it had seen a “huge uptick” in M&A activity since October.
In brief
·   Operating profits at Boliden, which owns Tara Mines, fell to €19.7m in the first quarter of 2021
·   Kaliedy, the online baby care product retailer, hopes to open a physical outlet in Ireland soon
·   UK insurance broker Aston Lark has bought Dublin firm North County Brokers
The Sunday Independent is a digital subscription. We encourage you to support quality journalism and subscribe or buy the physical newspaper. Subscribe here >
THE SUNDAY TIMES
“Covid bounce helps RTE back into €5m profit,” is the splash on the cover of this week’s paper. Linda Daly reports that RTE is on course to report a net profit of €5m for 2020 helped in part due to the postponement of large sporting events such as the Olympics, an increase in government and HSE advertising revenues, as well as taking advantage of the government’s Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme.
“CarVal action adds new twist to Kearney’s role in Davy scandal,” is the top headline in the business pages. Brian Carey reports that US investment fund CarVal Investors took High Court proceedings against the Belfast property developer Patrick Kearney for allegedly failing to disclose his plans to sell the Anglo Irish Bonds which ultimately resulted in Davy’s €4.1m Central Bank fine. According to Carey’s report, the emergence of the proceedings “represents a further twist” in the scandal.
Turning to banking, and financial advisers have joined solicitors and auctioneers in calling for client accounts to be shielded from negative interest rates. Niall Brady writes that Brokers Ireland, which has more than 1,200 members, said banks were charging some brokers up to €10,000 a month to temporarily hold funds on their customers’ behalf.
In brief
·   Sales of Fever-Tree gin were up 40% to €17m in Ireland in 2020
·   Development company Quintain is on course to build 700 homes in west Dublin
The Sunday Times is a digital subscription. We encourage you to support quality journalism and subscribe or buy the physical newspaper. Subscribe here >
THE FINANCIAL TIMES
The FT is a digital subscription. We encourage you to support quality journalism and subscribe or buy the physical newspaper. Subscribe here > 
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Google plans to invest $7bn on expanding its footprint of offices and data centres across the US, according to the WSJ. Described as Google’s “bet on the post-pandemic office” it’s reported that the search engine also plans to hire at least 10,000 new full-time staff over the course of the year.
Amazon continues its expansion into the healthcare industry after announcing it is to expand its telehealth service across the United States. The service, called Amazon Care, is an app that facilitates video or chat appointments with doctors as well a prescription deliveries.
Finally, Facebook has unveiled its latest foray into the world of virtual reality by revealing a new wristband that will control its augmented reality glasses. The band, which can interpret complex hand movements via sensors that pick up nerve signals in your wrist, will allow wearers to interact with the virtual world with subtle finger movements, or “intelligent clicks”.
The WSJ is a digital subscription. We encourage you to support quality journalism and subscribe or buy the physical newspaper. Subscribe here > 
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.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Have a good week & stay safe. 
Shay
Shay Dalton 
Managing Director – Lincoln Recruitment Specialists 
T: +353 1 661 0444
M: 086-8562176
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