Morning business news - September 26

Thursday 26 September 2013 11.42
Morning business news with Conor Brophy
Morning business news with Conor Brophy

BORD BIA HOSTING 800 PEOPLE AT SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE - Bord Bia is hosting its first Global Sustainability Conference at the Dublin Convention Centre today. There are 800 people at the event - food buyers, people from the food and drink industry, NGOs and those who are known for their views on sustainability.

About 300 of those at the Convention Centre are from 25 countries including China, Mongolia, Russia, Libya and the US. They are from such companies as Pepsi, McDonald's, Mars, Kerry Foods, Tesco and Nestlé and Pernod Ricard while the World Bank and the World Wildlife Fund are also attending.

Anna Malmhake, chief executive of Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, says today will be an iconic day for showcasing the best of the Irish food and drinks industry. Ms Malmhake says that it is actually a very good time to be in the industry, pointing out that one of Irish Distillers' main brands - Jameson Whiskey - has seen a 10% increase in exports. She says that sustainability is key for a company that has been in business for 250 years, adding that consumers now want to know where what they are eating and drinking comes from.

On the upcoming Budget, the drinks company boss says that the sector was hit very harshly last year, and she hopes that most of the pain in that area is over. Ms Malmhake says that sponsorship is key for a company such as Irish Distillers to grow their export business. She says the company is very proud of its sponsorship of the Irish Film Festival, adding that it is good for the brand and for Irish arts in general.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Exploration company Tullow has made a further oil discovery, its fourth in the past 12 months, in Northern Kenya. The well will now be tested to confirm just how much oil is there. A note from Davy Research this morning, though, says up to 50 million barrels could be recoverable. Tullow has a 50% stake in the well.

*** 4G is here and Eircom is the first network operator to bring the mobile technology to market in Ireland. Eircom says it will have about 80% coverage in Dublin and is also rolling out the service in Athlone and Carlow. It says it will have 50% coverage - 50% of the population rather than 50% of the country - by Christmas. It is also promising internet speeds up to ten times faster than smartphone, tablet and mobile broadband users are currently getting. Of course to take advantage of the higher speeds, you will need a new SIM card and a 4G compatible handset.

*** Ryanair has lodged its appeal against a UK competition ruling that could force it to sell most of its stake in Aer Lingus. The competition commission found Ryanair could exercise material influence over Aer Lingus. The commission believed competition between the two would be more intense if Ryanair did not have such a significant stake in Aer Lingus and it ordered Ryanair to reduce it from 29.8% to 5%. Ryanair's appeal is on the basis that, it says, the competition commission did not prove that competition was being affected as a result of it having a stake in Aer Lingus. It is also alleging that key evidence used by the commission in reaching its finding was kept secret from Ryanair and therefore it did not have a proper opportunity to defend itself.

*** Bank of Ireland has raised €500m in a seven year bond issue. The money being borrowed by the bank from investors, over seven years, is secured against Irish homeloans. The bank had bids to a total value of €2.3 billion so the bond issue was heavily oversubscribed. 98% of the bonds were bought by overseas investors. Strong demand and a willingness to lend to the bank over a seven year term on reasonable terms would point to confidence that the bank is on the way back to a more normal operating environment.