The Best of the Weekend Business Papers 28 March 2021

April 9


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·   The Business Post claims the Central Bank has contacted the Gardaí over Davy stockbrokers
·   The Sunday Independent says collapsed property firm Dolphin used Davy’s trading platform
·   The Sunday Times reports that the state faces a €50bn bill if it doesn’t raise the pension age
·   The FT reports that two big US investment banks have taken a stake in Mall of America
·   The Wall Street Journal reports that Joe Biden is putting together a $3trn economic plan
“I’m pleased to report that we’ve had a recent surge in bookings as the UK began to open up restrictions.”
— Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary says the UK is gearing up for a summer of travel.
“Central Bank in contact with Gardaí over Davy,” is headline over one of the top stories in this week’s Business Post. Peter O’Dwyer and Barry J Whyte report that the regulator has held discussions with the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) following the €4.13m fine it hit Davy with earlier this month. According to the report, the GNECB is not currently carrying out a criminal investigation adding “it is unclear whether it may yet decide to do so.”
Staying with financial regulation and there is lots of comment and analysis following last week’s record €38m imposed by the Central Bank on Ulster Bank for the tracker mortgage scandal. Over the headline: “Justice delayed: will the tracker scandal change banking culture?” Peter O’Dwyer writes that with further enforcement actions to follow against other lenders, the fallout from the scandal is “far from over.” Meanwhile the headline over this week’s editorial reads: “Our financial sector is still a prisoner of its past.”
Returning to the front page and Killian Woods reports that Hammerson, the shopping centre group, has not been able to find a suitable tenant for the Ilac Centre space in Dublin vacated by clothing retailer H&M. It follows an 18-month search for a replacement and comes as Penney’s postponed plans to expand its presence in the Dundrum Town Centre which is also run by Hammerson.
Gene Murtagh, ceo of building materials group Kingspan, is the subject of a report on page four of the paper which covers claims he tried to “undermine” the British government’s attempt to ban combustible cladding in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster. The allegation was made by Richard Millett QC during the ongoing inquiry into the tragedy.
In brief
·   Top executives at Irish Continental Group were granted more than €3.5m in share options
·   The Olympic Federation of Ireland is close to selling its headquarters in Howth
·   Auditor Grant Thornton says Covid-19 has left material uncertainty over Five Guys burger chain
·   Monasterevin Whiskey, backed by Bono, is using blockchain technology to verify its casks
The Sunday Business Post is a digital subscription. We encourage you to support quality journalism and subscribe or buy the physical newspaper. Subscribe here >
“Dolphin used Davy trading platform for failed scheme,” is the headline over this week’s top business story. Ferghal O’Connor reveals that the now collapsed Dolphin property scheme, which left Irish investors some €100m out of pocket, was made available via Davy’s trading platform. According to sources quoted in the piece, the Davy name “helped give the failed scheme legitimacy.”
Cash-strapped RTE is lobbying the government to dip into the pockets of online streamers according to a story on the inside pages. Samantha McCaughren reports that the state broadcaster commissioned a report by Indecon Consultants to examine how a “National Media Content Fund” would work. The report floated an idea of slapping a 3% levy on streaming services which would net €490m over five years. 
Also in this week’s paper is a two-page featured titled “Ireland’s Top 30 Women in Tech for 2021.” Cathriona Hallahan, managing director of Microsoft Ireland, tops the list followed by Dr Nora Khaldi, founder and ceo of Nuritas and Adrienne Gormley, coo, of Berlin-based digital bank N26.
In brief
·   Developer Derek Quinlan’s UK bankruptcy case will be held in June
·   UK fintech company Wirex is to open its European HQ in Ireland employing around 50 people
·   Over 5,600 employers have refunded €89.3m in Covid-19 wage supports to Revenue
·   US tech firm Segment plans to expand its Dublin office
The Sunday Independent is a digital subscription. We encourage you to support quality journalism and subscribe or buy the physical newspaper. Subscribe here >
“Raise pension age or face €50bn bill, says finance department,” is the lead headline in the Sunday Times’ business section. Niall Brady reports that the Department of Finance has warned the Commission on Pensions that indefinitely freezing the state pension age at 66 could cost the exchequer over €50bn in the coming decades.
Also this week, Brian Carey reports that speculation is mounting that Open Orphan, the clinical trial company headed by Irishman Cathal Friel, will move to spin-off its stake in vaccine developer Iumtex via a Nasdaq listing this year.
Pat McCann, who is stepping down from his role of ceo of Dalata hotel group, has joined the board of online furniture business Ufurnish. The company lists items from over 125 retailers including John Lewis, Dreams and Choice Furniture Superstore.
In brief
·  Dublin jewellers Weir & Sons has acquired McDowell’s Jewellers on O’Connell Street
·  Glenveagh is to treat broadband in the same way as water and ESB when constructing homes
The Sunday Times is a digital subscription. We encourage you to support quality journalism and subscribe or buy the physical newspaper. Subscribe here >
The FT is a digital subscription. We encourage you to support quality journalism and subscribe or buy the physical newspaper. Subscribe here > 
“Biden administration officials put together $3trn economic plan,” is the headline over one of the WSJ’s top stories. The paper reports that a package will include massive spending on infrastructure including investment in roads, bridges and climate-change initiatives.
Turning to tech and Xiaomi has unseated rival Huawei to become China’s biggest smartphone maker and the third biggest globally. The Beijing company reported soaring sales in multiple regions including a 57% jump in phone shipments to Western Europe along with a 52% increase in mainland China.
Finally, it is probably not surprising, but the pet industry is turning out to be one of Covid-19’s big winners as people working from home decided to get a pet to keep them company. It comes as Petco, the animal-supply retailer, announced it had added millions of new customers with chief executive, Ron Coughlin saying: “Pets make being at home richer and give you somebody to go and hug.”
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.
Warm Regards 
Shay Dalton 
Managing Director – Lincoln Recruitment Specialists 
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