Today in the press

Friday 26 April 2013 10.48
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers

MERKEL SPEECH HIGHLIGHTS EUROPEAN DIVIDE - Angela Merkel underlined the gulf at the heart of the eurozone when she waded into interest-rate policy, arguing that, taken in isolation, Germany would need higher rates, in contrast to southern states that are crying out for looser monetary policy. The German chancellor's highly unusual intervention on Thursday, a week before many economists expect the independent European Central Bank to cut its main interest rate, highlights how the economies of the prosperous north and austerity-hit south remain far apart, says the Financial Times. As the number of unemployed people in Spain broke the 6 million barrier, and France set a record with 3.2 million out of work, according to new data, a long simmering growth-versus-austerity debate has boiled over this week, with increasing calls from outside Germany to rethink crisis-fighting measures. “The ECB is obviously in a difficult position,” Ms Merkel said in Dresden. “For Germany, it would actually have to raise rates slightly at the moment, but for other countries it would have to do even more for more liquidity to be made available and especially for liquidity to reach corporate financing.” While Ms Merkel’s comments reflect received wisdom among many German economists, the country’s politicians, reared on the tradition of Bundesbank independence, usually avoid expressing a view on monetary policy. Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, has also broken the taboo, saying in a recent interview that the ECB should “drain liquidity” from the system.

***

NTMA STAFF ON HIGHER SALARIES THAN TAOISEACH REFUSE WAGE CUT - Three staff at the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) earning more than Taoiseach Enda Kenny have failed to take a salary cut this year despite a Government request, reports the Irish Independent. Finance Minister Michael Noonan said 13 of the 522 employees at the NTMA, which manages the national debt, earn more than €200,000. In December 2011, the minister asked those earning more than €200,000 to consider at least a 15% cut, or to bring their salary down to €200,000 if 15% brought it below that mark. Fifteen were eligible last year and all accepted the request, and 13 were eligible this year. Ten of the 13 continued with the lower salary this time around. The state's toxic loans agency NAMA and the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) fall under the NTMA umbrella. Ten staff - including the NTMA, NDFA and NAMA chief executives - took up the minister's request this year. Three did not. Neither the NTMA or Department of Finance would comment further. NAMA boss Brendan McDonagh earned €454,483 in 2011, while the head of the NTMA John Corrigan received a basic salary of €490,000 the same year. NDFA head Brian Murphy received a basic salary of €330,000 in 2011.

***

JAMESON A STAR PERFORMER FOR PERNOD RICARD AS GLOBAL SALES RISE BY 16% - Jameson Irish Whiskey was the joint second bestselling brand - with global sales rising by 16% on a year-on-year basis - for parent company, Pernod Ricard in the first nine months of its current financial year. The Paris-based drinks giant - which also owns leading spirits brands like Beefeater, Absolut, Mumm, Malibu and The Glenlivet - yesterday reported net sales of €6.65 billion for the nine months to the end of March. In all, Pernod Ricard's top 14 premium brands grew combined net sales by 5%, year-on-year, during the period. Scotch whisky brand, The Glenlivet led the list, with 21% sales growth; but Jameson and Martell Cognac were joint second highest growers, each seeing 16% year-on-year growth for the nine months, says the Irish Examiner. In the first half of the French group's financial year - which runs to the end of June - Jameson's net global sales grew by 13%, year-on-year. At that stage, in December, Jameson was only the third bestselling brand for the group. Jameson is now in its 24th consecutive year of sales growth and is experiencing double-digit percentage growth in 41 markets, worldwide.

***

BALLYMORE TO SELL PRIME LONDON SITE - Ballymore Group, the Seán Mulryan-owned property development firm, will sell off a prime development site in London with permission for nearly 3,500 homes and shops in its efforts to cut its debt with the National Asset Management Agency. The Irish Times says that the Irish firm received planning permission last year from Newham Council for the 37-acre Royal Wharf site in London's Royal Docks in east London, which has nearly a mile of frontage on to the River Thames. The site, which is being marketed by Knight Frank and Alan Selby & Partners, is expected to sell for about £150 million, while the scale of the project means that international buyers may be attracted.

***

Keywords: presswatch