Morning business news - February 22

Friday 22 February 2013 10.30
Morning business news with Conor Brophy
Morning business news with Conor Brophy

SHORTAGE OF SKILLS IN SOME AREAS OF FINANCE AND AUDIT - The Government will unveil an action plan for jobs featuring, among other things, measures aimed at generating up to €0.5 billion worth of additional business for indigenous Irish firms from multinational corporations with operations here. But as we look at measures to boost jobs how do individual jobseekers - of whom there are so many right now - maximise their chances of securing one?

Hilarie Geary, founder of Executive Connections, says there is a shortage of skills in some areas of the jobs markets, including the areas of finance and banking, systems audit and internal audit. She says that banks and big corporations are making big changes in their structures and are finding gaps they need to fill in such areas as credit solvency and compliance. Ms Geary also says there is a lack of language skills among job hunters as employers look for candidates with European and other languages. She says that employers are not just looking at candidates' academic skills but also about ''high water thinking skills'' and people's honesty and self control.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Pharma company Elan has provided some further details of how it plans to use the $3.25 billion proceeds from selling its stake in multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri. $1 billion will be returned to shareholders through a buyback. The remainder will be either reinvested or used to pay down debt. Elan says it will provide specifics once the Tysabri deal has closed.

*** Computer maker and IT services firm Hewlett Packard has reported a 6% drop in quarterly revenues and a 16% drop in profit to $1.2 billion overnight. HP, which is a major employer here, saw sales fall across almost all its divisions. But despite that, HP shares rose in after-hours trading in New York as the results were still better than Wall Street was expecting.

*** Spanish lender Bankia is expected to unveil the largest loss in Spanish corporate history next week. €19 billion is the expected figure. The bulk of that made up of a €12 billion provision made in connection with the assets Bankia has transferred into Spain's equivalent of NAMA.

*** Annual accounts published by the European Central Bank show it earned €1.1 billion in interest income last year on its share of the €208 billion worth of government bonds purchased through what was known as the securities markets programme. That was an effort to calm financial markets by buying up government debt of crisis hit member states, including Ireland, on bond markets. As that debt pays interest and many of those bonds have increased substantially from the levels at which the ECB bought them, it's sitting on substantial profits.

*** Newspaper sales in Ireland fell 7% over the second half of last year compared to the same period in 2011 - across both the Sunday and daily markets. The Irish Independent is still the highest circulation daily newspaper. Its sales were down 5.5 per cent, better than the average, to just under 124,000. The Sunday Independent is still the biggest selling Sunday title despite seeing a 5.4% drop in circulation to 237,000.