The Best of the Weekend Business Papers 5 April 2020

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BUSINESS PAPERS – THE MAIN TALKING POINTS
  • The Business Post reports that incentives for businesses will form part a “rescue plan” for the Irish economy
  • The Sunday Independent says banks are adding new “Covid-19 conditions” to loan offers
  • The Sunday Times reports that BT has changed its mind about selling its Irish operation
  • The Financial Times says the global economy is set for its sharpest reversal since the Great Depression
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that a record 6.6m Americans sought unemployment benefits last week

QUOTES FOR THE WEEK

 

 “If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.”

A line from Séamus Heaney appears as graffiti on Dublin walls during the crisis

 

 

THE BUSINESS POST
 

 

“FF/FG plan for business boost ahead of income tax cuts to aid recovery,” is the headline on one of this week’s cover stories in the Business Post. The paper claims that incentives for businesses, rather than tax cuts, will form the centrepiece of a new rescue plan for the Irish economy currently being drawn as part of government formation discussions between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. The plan may include temporary VAT reductions, a write-off of rates bills as well as access to working capital for businesses.

The impact on Ireland’s exploration industry from the massive collapse in oil prices is also covered on the front page. Under the headline “Big oil abandons Irish shores” Daniel Murray reports that oil giants ExxonMobil and Equinor have dropped their exploration interests in Ireland while the Chinese state has relinquished all but one licence, “as big oil flees the Irish market”.

“Publicans advised to take insurance cases straight to financial watchdog,” leads a story on page two. Peter O’Dwyer reports that pub owners whose insurers are refusing to pay out on business interruption policies are being advised by the Vintners’ Association to bring their cases straight to the Financial Services Ombudsman. It comes as publicans and other business owners argue with insurers over payouts due to the loss of business caused by Covid-19.

Some property news and on page four, Ian Guider reports that commercial landlords are gearing up for a fight with tenants after the second quarter rent payment day passed with many retailers unable to pay. Meanwhile, on the same page, Roisin Burke reports that global office space company WeWork is likely to seek a review of its rental terms at the former Central Bank building and other locations as part of a cost-cutting mission with landlords.

As in previous weeks, there is several pages of comment and analysis examining the impact of the current crisis. Included this week is a 10-point business survival plan written by businessman Bobby Kerr, founder of Insomnia Coffee and ex-dragon. Among his practical tips for businesses is to prepare a cashflow projection for the next four, eight and 12 weeks and to prepare a simple business plan that gets you to the end of the year. By taking his steps, Kerr says businesses owners will be in a position to control the things they can control, and will have the “inspiration and the will” to carry on.

In Brief

· Gift voucher firm Voucher Connect has seen a 165% rise in sales revenues     due to Covid-19

· Waterways Ireland is to increase the number of food markets operating along    the Grand Canal

· Dairygold announced €1bn in revenues in 2019, an increase of €27m on the     previous year 

 
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THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT
 

 

 
Several Irish banks and lenders are adding new conditions to mortgage loan offers, seeking assurances in relation to job and income risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic according to this week’s top business story. Samantha McCaughren writes that the paper has seen several documents issued by banks in recent days, outlining additional loan requirements for new and existing applications.
 
Also on the front page, Ferghal O’Connor reports that Nigel Doolin, owner of Dublin-based bullion seller, Core Bullion, which opened less than a month ago has shifted over 25 kilos of gold – close to annual target – in its first three weeks of business. The company has seen a rush of nervous investors buying into the precious metal as the Covid-19 pandemic has taken hold. “The timing could not have been better” says Doolin.
 
Ireland’s local authorities could lose up to €727m of national commercial rates due to Covid-19. That’s according to an analysis by local authority experts which found that a huge chunk of local government funding is at risk due to the crisis.
 
In Brief
 
· Brown Thomas and Arnotts have reopened their online shops
 
· Wexford-based pharmacy chain McCauley’s has seen business fall by 40% due to Covid-19

 

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THE SUNDAY TIMES
 

 

 

BT has changed its mind about selling its Irish operation, BT Ireland, according to the top business story in this week’s Sunday Times. BT Ireland, which owns Ireland’s second largest fixed-line network was due to be sold to Mayfair Equity Partners for €300m

Gavin Daly reports that Apple has bought the “hotly tipped” Apple Irish voice technology firm Voysis for an undisclosed sum. It is understood that Apple plans to use Voysis technology to improve its Siri voice command system.

In Brief

· Alanna Homes is in talks to build almost 1,200 new homes at a site in west Dublin

· Dublin ladieswear distributor The Showroom has gone into liquidation
· Epic, the Irish emigration museum is upgrading parts of its exhibition
· Dublin Airport Authority is poised to withhold its dividend to the state due to    the ongoing crisis
· Five senior executives who left AIB last year shared €900,000 in severance payments
 
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 
 

 

“Global economy set for sharpest reversal since the Great Depression” is the stark headline on the cover of this week’s FT. Quoted in the story is Kristalina Georgieva, head of the IMF, who says: “This is a crisis like no other. Never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy coming to a standstill. It is way worse than the global financial crisis”.

In Companies & Markets the lead story is that the coronavirus crisis has led European aircraft manufacturer Airbus to sharply reduce production of the A320, its most popular single-aisle passenger jet. The news comes a week after the company withdrew its guidance for 2020 and suspended its dividend payment.

Another well-known company reeling from the impact of the pandemic is short-term rental site Airbnb. Underscoring the scale of the fallout, it’s reported that the company has lowered its internal valuation to $26bn – a 16% drop compared to its most recent funding round.

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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
 

 

The Wall Street Journal leads with the news that a record 6.6m Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week due to the coronavirus epidemic. The number beat last week’s record when 3.3m people in the US labour market signed-on. According to Constance Hunter, chief economist at KPMC, up to 20m people in the US could end up losing their jobs.

While most companies are letting people go there is one that has gone on a hiring spree. Ecommerce giant Amazon has filled 80,000 jobs in the space of a few weeks as it seeks to meet soaring demand from online shoppers. In total the company said it would need an additional 150,000 workers to manage the shopping surge sparked by the pandemic.

Finally, US stocks closed out their worst quarter since the depths of the financial crisis in a stunning reversal of fortune for investors. The S&P 500 posted a 20% loss for the quarter while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 23%. “We’re really in unchartered territory,” says Shawn Snyder, head of investment strategy at City Personal Wealth Management.

 

 
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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 to friends or colleagues and get in touch if you wish to add contacts to the mailing list.
 
Stay safe & well,  
Shay

 

 
 
Shay Dalton 
 
Managing Director – Lincoln Recruitment
E: sdalton@lincoln.ie
A: 5 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2
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About the Author

Shay Dalton

Shay Dalton

Managing Director

sdalton@lincoln.ie+353 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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