Weekend Business Papers

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The 1% Podcast

On this special episode we have Johnny Cooper as the guest host, who is the Director of Leadership and Talent Development at Steering Point Advisory. He is joined by special guest Sharon Lechter, an entrepreneur, international speaker, mentor, best-selling author, philanthropist, licensed CPA for the last 35 years and a chartered global management accountant.

Sharon coauthored the international best-seller ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’, which developed into a leading personal finance brand in the world. Sharon was then asked by the Napoleon Hill Foundation to help re-energise the powerful teachings of Napoleon Hill, releasing 3 best-selling books in cooperation with the foundation.

Sharon was appointed as the 1st president of the United States Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. The council served under both President Bush and Obama, advising them on financial literacy and education. In this episode, we talk about her journey including the mantra her dad taught her many years ago, business decisions versus life decisions, visiting the White House, her personal success equation, and working with the likes of Disney, Warner Brothers, and Sesame Street.

Business Papers – The Main Talking Points

  • The Business Post reports Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), operator of the country’s gas grid, is the latest major company to call for an end to data centre restrictions
  • The Sunday Independent reports the US chair of the Senate finance committee has demanded that drug giant Pfizer disclose details of its Irish tax affairs
  • The Sunday Times reveals Clare Daly, the independent Dublin MEP, gave a Russian spy contact details for a paramilitary facing extradition on terrorism charges 
  • The Financial Times details the newly confirmed mer­ger of KPMG’s UK and Swiss divi­sions 
  • The Wall Street Journal digs into the ‘leading but little discussed’ cause of surging insurance premiums: a big increase in the cost of reinsurance policies 

“Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists.”

Kevin Kelly

Business Post

The business post leads with the headline ‘Game On’ between a photo of Taoiseach Simon Harris and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, referencing the upcoming local and European elections. It reports that support for Sinn Féin has dropped 4 points to 23%, leaving the party just 1% ahead of a resurgent Fine Gael under Harris’ stewardship. 

Meanwhile, Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), the operator of the country’s gas grid, has called for a lift on the block of data centres. GNI has not connected any new data centres to the grid since 2022. It is just the latest major company to call for a shift in policy after tech giants Amazon, Google, and Microsoft previously said that the current restrictions risk the country missing out on billions in investment.

Ireland’s European Commissioner for Financial Services, Mairead McGuinness, has warned that businesses risk being left without insurance coverage or having to pay higher premiums as a result of climate change. Speaking at the Global Economic Summit, she said that while there wasn’t yet a widespread problem with insurers hiking costs or withdrawing cover, it could become a significant issue if policymakers fail to prepare for the threat climate change poses to the insurance sector.

Google has laid off more staff in its global affairs unit, sparking fresh fears that its Irish operation could be impacted again after successive job cuts over the last year. A Google spokeswoman declined to say whether these latest layoffs would affect the company’s Irish operation, where it employs around 5,000 people on a full-time basis. 

Under radical new plans drawn up by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, funding for new projects and additional staff will be withheld from underperforming hospitals. He will not fund new developments or posts in hospitals that do not meet new productivity targets, with money instead being directed to sites that can prove they are productive and efficient with their resources.

In brief

● Energy developers in line for €40m in grants from soon-to-be-launched biogas strategy 
● Pick-up in eurozone wage growth not a threat to interest rate cuts, says ECB
● Property funds worth €28bn+ have halved tax payments since new gov measures
● AI misuse under the spotlight thanks to Scarlett Johansson/Sam Altman controversy
● Ndvidia’s share price has risen 240% in the past year, with company now worth $2.5 trillion
The 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

The Sunday Independent leads with news that Garda Síochána has ramped up its immigration response with checks close to the border and preparations for a sharp increase in enforcing deportations. Operation Sonnet, the joint policing initiative between the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and the PSNI, held three days of action on the main Belfast to Dublin road last week, with these mobile patrols to now be conducted weekly.

Over in the business pages, the US chair of the senate finance committee has demanded that drug giant Pfizer disclose detailed information about its Irish tax affairs. The move is seen as a major expansion of the committee’s ongoing three-year investigation into big pharma tax strategies. Irish authorities are likely to be concerned that the committee is taking such a direct interest in Pfizer’s Irish operation. The company employs 5,000 staff here in five locations and is seen as one of the flagships of Ireland’s success as a pharma and biotech hub.

Amazon is set to ‘transform’ the Irish online shopping space by opening a dedicated Irish website, Amazon.ie, set to launch in 2025. The move will force a transformation of Ireland’s logistics and online retail sectors, says Alan Coughlan, founder and CEO of Lansil Global, a €40m business supplying e-commerce websites with Chinese products. “When Amazon starts its Irish service then two-day delivery times are going to become essential across the industry,” he said.

Ireland’s financial institutions could face big fines under new EU cybersecurity legislation which comes into effect in January. The Digital Operations Resilience Act (Dora) will hold banks and other financial firms legally responsible for protecting customers from online fraud and misinformation. Financial institutions –– and their directors –– who fail to protect customers may face fines of up to 2% of annual turnover or, in the case of an individual, a maximum fine of €1m. Nicola Byrne, CEO of Riskeye, warns Irish banks and financial services are not prepared.

In brief

● Irish construction materials giant CRH has invested €80m in Ukraine since the invasion
● Cork fintech Global Shares up $30bn since JP Morgan takeover
● Primark invested over €30m in European roll-out as it enters its 17th market in Hungary
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

The Sunday Times reveals that Clare Daly, the independent Dublin MEP, gave a Russian spy contact details for a paramilitary held liable for the Omagh bombing and facing extradition on terrorism charges. An investigation by The Sunday Times and the Dossier Centre confirmed Daly provided the Russian agent, who had been convicted for espionage, with an email address on which Liam Campbell could be reached in November 2021 after the agent suggested he was open to helping the republican dissident. The revelation puts Daly under intense pressure to explain her involvement.

Wall Street’s biggest boss, Jamie Dimon, has hinted that he will step down from his role as CEO of JP Morgan, though he may stay on as chairman. Dimon has been running America’s largest bank, with 310,000 employees around the world, since 2005. He used to joke that his retirement was always five years away. But at an investor day last week, Dimon said it was “not five years any more” and that succession planning was “well on the way”. Though on a call with investors he added, “Will I stay as chairman for a while? We’ll see.”

Cairn is set to build more than 1,000 homes in Donabate, north Co Dublin after the housebuilder paid more than €50 million for a site there in an off-market deal with the Oaktree-backed Cannon Kirk. The move represents a big re-entry into the acquisitions market for the listed company, which has been largely absent from it in recent years. Last year Cairn made acquisitions worth €57.9 million compared with purchases of about €470 million in its first year of operation in 2015. Further site acquisitions could follow this year.

In brief

● Public expenditure minister Paschal Donohoe again called for reform to TV licence fee 
● Deposit return scheme (DRS) participants will be fined €5,000 if found selling old stock
● Multiple secondary schools reported “serious” ­incidents related to vaping this 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 Financial Times

Nor­way’s oil fund has become the latest Exxon­Mobil investor to com­mit to vot­ing against the re-elec­tion of dir­ector Jay Hooley, as con­cerns intensify over the impact on share­holder demo­cracy of a law­suit launched by the US oil busi­ness. The $1.5tn sov­er­eign wealth fund is the biggest investor yet to come out against Exxon after the com­pany filed a case against two cli­mate-focused share­holder groups to block their res­ol­u­tion demand­ing it do more to cut its green­house gas emis­sions.

Elon Musk’s xAI has secured new back­ing from Sil­icon Val­ley ven­ture cap­ital groups Light­speed Ven­ture Part­ners, Andreessen Horow­itz, Sequoia Cap­ital, and Tribe Cap­ital, as the tech mag­nate closes in on a fund­ing round valu­ing the start-up at $18bn. Musk is seek­ing to raise close to $6bn, accord­ing to people famil­iar with nego­ti­ations. However, one investor involved in the round said the Tesla and X chief remained “a few hun­dred mil­lion dol­lars” short of that tar­get.

KPMG has announced the mer­ger of its UK and Swiss divi­sions. The Big Four account­ing and con­sult­ing firm said yes­ter­day that part­ners in both coun­tries had voted “over­whelm­ingly” in favour of mer­ging, cre­at­ing a busi­ness with rev­en­ues of $4.4bn that hopes to tap into big­ger mar­kets and boost profits. The tie-up will come into effect in Octo­ber. It hopes to increase profits, which have lagged behind rivals in recent years.

In brief

● Cop­per prices will quad­ruple to $40,000 a tonne in coming years, predicts top trader
● Eli Lilly invests extra $5.3bn into new Indiana weight-loss drug-making site
● SEC takes ‘key step’ towards approv­ing ETFs linked to eth­ereum’s digital coin
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

The Wall Street Journal digs into the “leading, but little discussed” cause of surging insurance premiums: a big increase in the cost of reinsurance policies. The paper describes reinsurance as “a sort of insurance for insurers.” Insurers buy reinsurance policies to limit their risks. After suffering a sharp drop in profits, reinsurers raised rates and cut coverage at the start of last year. That hit home insurers, making it harder to manage their losses from extreme weather events. Many of them passed on the higher costs and reduced coverage to their customers.

The US and its allies are closing in on a novel financing plan that would provide Ukraine with up to $50 billion, though Western officials are still working through important details. The idea relies on the investment returns –– mainly interest payments –– generated by the roughly $300 billion in Russian sovereign assets that the US and Europe froze after the 2022 invasion. The new financial plan would deliver many years worth of expected profits on the Russian assets to Kyiv in the short term while leaving the underlying Russian assets untouched.

Nearly 61% of limited partners investing in private markets—pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and insurance companies—said they plan to expand their asset allocation to private credit this year, according to a survey from data provider S&P Global Market Intelligence in January. The survey recorded responses from participants, including limited partners, private equity, and venture capital professionals. Credit funds are in the market to raise a total of more than $487 billion, a first-quarter Preqin report showed. 

In brief

● A trader cost Citigroup $78 million in fines by mistyping an order to sell shares
● E.l.f. Beauty increasing marketing investment to 25% in 2024 from 7% in 2019
● Alibaba plans to raise $4.5bn through convertible bond issue to fund share repurchases
The WSJ is a digital subscription. We encourage you to support quality journalism and subscribe or buy the physical newspaper. Subscribe here.

Shay Dalton 

All views are strictly my own brief interpretation of the articles in the various publications and are 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.