The Best of the Weekend Business Papers 30 August 2020

October 19


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  • The Business Post reports on a new plan to help “exhausted” firms ahead of Brexit
  • The Sunday Independent says that the value of Dalata’s hotel assets have fallen by $161m
  • The Sunday Times says AIB is facing a backlash from retailers over customer card refunds
  • The FT says Pret A Manger is to start a delivery service and open more suburban branches
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that the US unemployment rate fell to 8.4% in August








“This means that Alexei Navalny is a victim of a crime. It was an attempt to silence him. I condemn this in the strongest possible terms on behalf of the entire German government. There are very serious questions now that only the Russian government can answer, and must answer”

Chancellor Angela Merkel commenting on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny






“New plan for exhausted firms amid rising fears of no-deal Brexit” is the splash on this week’s paper. Michael Brennan reports that Simon Coveney is to bring forward a new 60-page “readiness proposal” to help businesses brace for the impact of a no-deal Brexit. According to the story, the government is worried that businesses are exhausted from coping with Covid-19 and will not be able to properly respond in the event of a hard Brexit.

The country’s pub owners are stepping up their campaign against the government according to another front page story. Under the headline “Pubs’ poster campaign to heap more pressure on government” it’s reported that shuttered pubs will this week start displaying anti-government posters on their windows. The posters read “Abandoned by Government” and carry the hashtag #OpenThePubs. However, it looks as though pubs may not have long to wait before they can start serving pints again as the government is planning to allow them to open by the middle of this month.

Staying with the pub trade and Killian Woods reports that the new owners of Kiely’s pub in Donnybrook have called time on the well-known rugby pub after lodging plans to demolish it and build a seven-storey shared living complex. The pub was bought by Westridge Real Estate last November in a deal believed to be worth over €5m.

A large number of barristers are likely to leave the profession due to a loss of income caused by Covid-19, according to a story on page two. Rosanna Cooney reports on a survey by the Bar Council of Ireland which found that 44% of barristers have seen their income fall by over 80% due to the reduction in the number of cases being heard in the courts due to Covid.

In Brief
  • Ratings agency Fitch has downgraded its rating for Mountain Province Diamonds
  • Earnings at Denis O’Brien’s Digicel fell by 15% to $208m for the three months to end-June
  • Aircraft leasing firm Aercap is suing a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines for $7m in missed payments
  • Telios Capital has increased its stake in Glenveagh Homes to more than 10%
  • RSA Insurance is seeking 25 redundancies as part of a cost-saving plan
  • Irish energy company San Leon is investing $7.5m in an Nigerian oil field
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“Dalata hotel asset values fall $161m as sector battles Covid” is the headline over this week’s top business story. Sean Pollack reports that the hotel assets of listed Irish hotel group Dalata have plunged due to the pandemic. Cited in the piece is a new forecast that the number of new hotel rooms in Dublin this year will fall from 2,200 to just 527.

Do you have experience valuing private company shares? If so, you might be interested in a report that the Revenue is seeking to form a panel of share valuation experts. The panel will provide it with advice on the valuation of unquoted shares for tax purposes.

The pandemic has proved to be a boon for online education company Shaw Academy, according to a report on page three of the business pages. The company said it had registered nearly 10m students this year and estimates that its turnover will hit over €50m, a twelvefold increase.

In Brief

  • Gambling group Flutter expects to receive a refund of €15.4m from the UK tax authority
  • Dutch e-bike company VanMoof has opened a pop-up store on Wicklow Street in Dublin
  • Flexifi has reported lending to around 40,000 Irish consumers over its 2020 financial year
  • Aviva Life & Pensions paid out just over €100m in life claims in 2019


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This week’s top business story is that AIB is facing a backlash from retailers over how customer refunds on card payments are processed. According to Niall Brady’s report, retailers are complaining that their cash flow is suffering because they are having to refund customers up front.

The paper reports that Australian discounter Chemist Warehouse is planning to enter the Irish market. The discount chain, which has been dubbed the McDonalds of pharmacies, is believed to have already lined up its first outlets in Dublin.

Millennium International Management, an American hedge fund, has renewed its bet against Bank of Ireland by taking a €11m short position in its shares. The current position covers 0.5% of the bank’s shares.

In Brief

  • Stockbroker Campbell O’Connor paid a €14m dividend to its directors as it prepares to wind up
  • Eir saw its television revenues slump to 10% to €37m last year
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 leads with the news that sandwich chain Pret A Manger aims to revive its business by delivering dinners to city dwellers and opening more suburban branches. It comes after the company’s core business of providing quick lunches to city commuters was decimated by the pandemic and the rise of homeworking. It’s also reported that Pret is to offer customers up to five coffees a day if they sign up to a monthly subscription service.

The collapse in international travel caused by Covid-19 has left the aviation industry in tatters with Virgin Atlantic becoming the latest airline to announce job cuts. The company said it planned to cut more than 1,000 jobs across all parts of its business adding that it was “fighting for its survival”.

Turning to banking and Spanish banks CaixaBank and Bankia said they were in talks about a possible merger to create the country’s largest domestic bank with assets of €650bn. According to the report, the merger talks come as the pandemic exacerbates pressure on retail banks already struggling with record-low interest rates.


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The Wall Street Journal leads with the news that the unemployment rate in the US fell in August as the economy continued to recover from the Covid-19 downturn. The paper reports that US employers added 1.4m jobs in August pushing the unemployment rate for the month down to 8.4% from 10.2% in July.

After a sizzling summer rally, reality returned to stock markets after they suffered their worst one-day drop since March. The tech sector led the falls with sharer in Apple down by 8%, wiping $150bn from its’s market value – the equivalent of the market value of McDonalds. Electric car maker Tesla dropped 9%.

Finally, US debt has reached its highest level compared to the size of the economy since World War II. The current debt to GDP of the US is 98% and is expected to exceed 100% next year. It puts the US alongside Japan, Italy and Greece as nations that have debt loads that are bigger than the size of their economies. Economists said the debt ratio was “totally unsustainable”.


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THE 1% PODCAST – Enda McNulty 
Listen here 


We pulled together a recap episode for you this week, featuring short clips from some of the great moments in the podcast’s fourth season. We were fortunate to have incredible leaders from across industries, disciplines, and fields share their stories and perspectives this season – and we wanted to share them with you as we wrap up Season 5 and look ahead to the sixth season.

Here are some of the guests and clips from Season 5 featured in this wrap-up episode:

+ Suzanne Dempsey (Deputy CEO and the Director of Nursing at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin) speaks openly about the challenges of leading in extraordinary times.

+ Bryan Burnstein (Director of Performance Science for Kitman Labs, formerly Head of Performance Science at Cirque de Soleil) gives an up-close account at what some of the best teams are doing to support their athletes and how to build a high-performance culture.
+ Kingsley Aikins (CEO of The Networking Institute) talks about his life’s work bringing people together regardless of geographical location under the one umbrella of promoting Irish interests.
+ Ade McCormack (Technologist & Author) in this session, we explore the importance of attention in respect to individual performance and the challenges faced in these increasingly distracting times. We also explore the implications of this on organisational performance.
+ Enda McNulty (All Star, leading performance coach and motivational speaker) we deep dive into leadership, team performance, and mental toughness and his work with some of the Irelands leading athletes and organisations.
We’re hard at work planning Season 6 which will kick off in c 2 weeks.





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. 



Shay Dalton 
Managing Director – Lincoln Recruitment Specialists




T: +353 1 661 0444/



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© 2020 All Rights Reserved – Lincoln Recruitment Specialists

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