Morning business news - August 20Tuesday 20 August 2013 10.35
CRH REPORTS CHALLENGING CONDITIONS IN EUROPE - Weak construction activity and challenging economic conditions is how CRH characterises Europe in a statement by chief executive Myles Lee alongside the company's half year results. CRH's half yearly results show a 3% fall in revenue to just over €8 billion compared to the same six month period in 2012 and a pre-tax loss of €71m compared to profits of €102m in the first half of last year. "We expect challenging trading conditions in Europe for the remainder of 2013," the company said in a statement.
CRH is doing better in North America where growth is more robust. But CRH said that poor weather has restricted road-building activity, a key earner for the company, and it said it hopes the remaining 12 weeks of the paving season will see better conditions on which it can capitalise.
MORNING BRIEFS - Vodafone has said it paid tax at a rate of 25% here on profits from collecting royalty payments which were routed through an Irish subsidiary. It was revealed in recent days that the mobile operator paid a multi-million euro settlement to the UK revenue in 2009 which involved reclaiming tax originally paid in Ireland.
*** Two thirds of UK banks have increased salaries for staff who will be affected by EU caps on bonus payments. New rules come in to force next year which limit bonus payments for key staff to an amount equivalent to their annual salary. Bonuses of up to twice annual salary will be possible but only with explicit shareholder approval. London-based financial recruitment firm Robert Half has found 65% of banks in the City - Europe's biggest financial centre - have increased salaries for such staff by an average of 20%. 60% say they have improved staff benefits too.
*** The Indian rupee has fallen to a record low against the US dollar further highlighting economic problems on the subcontinent. In part it is falling because foreign investors are beginning to redirect money back towards the US where the dollar has been weakened by aggressive stimulus measures undertaken by the Federal Reserve. The expectation that the Fed will begin rolling back has been a factor in money flowing back to the US from the emerging markets. India, though, is also experiencing slowing economic growth hampered by a bad-debt laden banking system and over-reliance on fuel imports.
*** Field management company FMI is to create 60 new full time jobs as part of its continuing expansion. That will double headcount at the company based in south Dublin. The field management that FMI provides involves a range of services such as direct sales, merchandising, in-store promotions and demonstrations. Its clients include Pepsi and Electric Ireland.