Morning business news - February 17

Monday 17 February 2014 10.04
Morning business news - February 17
Morning business news - February 17

Commercial property specialist HWBC is forecasting a 10% rise in office rents in Dublin this year on top of a 15% increase last year.

In its annual market review, HWBC suggests conditions have now improved to the point where developers may actually consider building new offices in Dublin.

Its director of commercial property, Tony Waters, said there were now just two buildings in the city centre that could accommodate around 7,500 sqm of space each, which would be the kind of scale sought by bigger companies.

“We’ve now got to a position where we’ve a shortage of suitably-sized buildings in Dublin city centre,” he said.

“In these circumstances we’ve seen prime Dublin office rents move from below 30 per sq ft to in excess of 35 and rising towards 40 and potentially more.

“This allows owners of sites and funders to relook at their plans for office developments on existing sites, go for new planning permissions and produce a profitable development.”

Mr Waters accepted that much of the upturn to date has been in the so-called Grade A market, with poorer quality offices seeing far less demand.

However he said that this should change as the market improves, with demand beginning to move down to lower-quality stock particularly in suburban areas.

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The latest Intertrade Ireland survey of 750 small and medium businesses across Ireland finds its respondents much more optimistic about growth prospects.

The all-island survey finds 40% of those companies reporting growth when surveyed during the fourth quarter of last year compared to just 10% in the same quarter a year earlier.

Recovery is faster among firms which export. Businesses relying on domestic consumer demand such as those in the retail and leisure sectors are the least likely to report signs of recovery according to the survey.

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Kerry-based financial services company Fexco has made another acquisition in the UK.

It has bought a firm called InterCash, a foreign exchange provider operating across the south of England.

InterCash will be bolted on to No 1 currency which Fexco owns and which it recently announced plans to expand across the UK.

Foreign exchange is one of Fexco's specialities and it is banking on economic recovery and particularly on growth in tourism driving demand for retail foreign exchange services in Britain.

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Distribution and logistics specialist DCC expects earnings for its full year, to the end of March, to be lower than previously guided.

In an interim management statement DCC said trading at its energy division had been hit in December and January by mild temperatures which reduced demand during the period. DCC said operating profit for the year will be between 7% and 10% higher than in the previous 12 months.

It had expected the increase to be in the range of 13% to 15% higher.