“Businesses set for €6.5bn rescue package to save economy from collapse,” is this week’s splash. The paper reports that a €6.5bn business bailout package had been agreed in a bid to stave off a “complete collapse” in the economy resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a potential banana skin to the plan is that a crucial €2bn credit guarantee fund cannot be set up until a new government is formed.
In another front page story under the headline “Banks rule out third break on repayments” Ian Guider reports that banks will not offer a third blanket mortgage and business loan payment breaks for customers struggling due to Covid-19. The news comes after banks agreed to a second three-month payment holiday that will last until the end of September.
On page three, Roisin Burke reports that grocery delivery platform Buyme.ie has raised €2.5m in fresh funding. Company director Eamonn Quinn, son of the late supermarket legend Fergal, tells that the paper that the money will be used to fund expansion into the UK and Europe.
On page four, Peter Dwyer reports that tenants of Dublin’s Nutgrove Shopping Centre have been told that they could face enforcement action if they fail to pay rent and service costs. This story follows a report in the Sunday Independent two weeks ago that tenants in the Omni Park shopping centre in Santry were also being threatened with legal action over unpaid rents.
One of the worst hit industries from Covid-19 is the hotel sector but that hasn’t dimmed the optimism of Pat McCann, boss of hotel group Dalata. Announcing the company’s results at a virtual AGM last week McCann said Dalata was well positioned to weather the current downturn. “We have significant cash on the balance sheet to see us through for a very long period of time,” he said.
As the government announced the gradual easing of restrictions last week, there is lots of comment and analysis of how businesses will operate post-lockdown. Peter O’Dwyer has a piece looking at the fitness and leisure industry where social distancing is likely to prove difficult. “Every second piece of machinery, like a treadmill or a spin bike, might need to be disabled,” says one gym owner.
Meanwhile, Siobhan Maguire looks at how retailers will operate alongside Covid-19. The frequent use of steamers in clothes fitting rooms and self-measuring foot kits in shoe stores are just some of what clothing and footwear stores are considering. For hairdressers, both the customer and stylist will wear masks.
· Cavendish Capital, parent company of Irish hedge fund Abbey, saw profits fall by €4m last year
· ICON, the Dublin drug testing company, said Covid-19 had cost it almost €110m this quarter
· Monaghan forklift-maker Combilift said it would return to almost full production next week