Morning business news - December 10

Tuesday 10 December 2013 12.18
Morning business news with Brian Finn
Morning business news with Brian Finn

One sector of the Irish property market which has seen an influx of international buyers has been the hotel industry. Activity in that sector is the subject of a conference in Dublin this morning organised by Event Strategies.

Paul Collins, Head of Brokerage at CBRE Hotels, is one of those addressing the conference. He said the buying has been truly international over the past few years, although there are now early signs of Irish buyers re-emerging in the market - particularly in deals for smaller hotels. "It looks like transactions in the order of €160m will be carried out this year with 30 hotels selling. It is dominated by international players," he states.

Mr Collins said US buyers accounted for nearly 40% of the activity with the UK accounting for 20%. "We're also seeing interest from the Far East and China. We've sold to Malaysians, Kenyans and the Swiss have been active," he said. He believes Irish hotel owners are not in a position financially to make big punts on hotels as most have a large debt burden. There is also the credit situation, although Paul Collins said the situation is improving with some bank capital coming on stream. "We could do with more banks here," he concluded.

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MORNING BRIEFS - The campaign for retrospective recapitalisation of the banks was dealt a fresh blow last night. The head of the European Stability mechanism, from where the money would come, said the idea doesn't seem very likely. Klaus Regling said while it would not need a change to existing treaties, it would be a very complicated process. Michael Noonan does not look like he is ready to give up on the idea though - he said the issue would be pursued over the course of next year.

*** The US government bailout of General Motors has ended. The US Treasury Department announced that it had sold its final shares of GM stock. The bailout left the taxpayer with a loss of around $10 billion. The US government spent just under $50 billion rescuing the company five years ago taking a 61% stake. A reorganisation of the company saw it close 13 car plants and 27,000 employees lost their jobs. But Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the move prevented the collapse of the US car industry and saved a million jobs.

*** Shares in Australian airline Qantas closed at their lowest level since privatisation in 1995 overnight. Analysts are predicting a record loss as the carrier goes head to head with Virgin Australia. The stock was down 3% to close at 96.5 cents. Qantas lost its investment-grade credit rating from Standard & Poor's earlier this month.

*** There was a 10% reduction in the number of professional job opportunities available here in the month of November, according to the Morgan McKinley Employment monitor. Compared to the same month last year however, the figure is up 6%. There was a decrease of more than a fifth in the number of professionals entering the employment market in the month. Morgan McKinley say this might be expected coming towards the end of the year as managers are feeling budget restrictions kick in.

***  China's industrial output and retail sales rose in November. The data is the latest in a series of signs indicating that the world's second largest economy is showing signs of picking up after growth slowed in the first half of the year.
Factory output was up 10% from a year ago and retail sales were up 13.7%.  This follows a stronger than expected jump in exports in November.