RYANAIR'S O'LEARY EYES €1 BILLION IN BOND ISSUE TO FUND ORDER FOR 175 PLANES - Ryanair is likely to raise between €500m and €1 billion in its first-ever bond issue, the airline's boss, Michael O'Leary has told the Irish Independent. The bond, which would be used to help finance the airline's current order for 175 aircraft, would be a major departure for Ryanair, which has not previously accessed capital markets on its own. Last week, Ryanair received its first-ever corporate credit rating, from Standard & Poor's. It rated the airline BBB+, making it the highest-rated airline in the world. Ryanair placed a 175-aircraft order with Boeing last year. It will increase the airline's fleet to more than 400 and enable it to achieve a target of carrying 110 million passengers by 2019, compared to the 81.5 million it carried last year. "The first delivery of the new aircraft doesn't come until September, which is when we'd want to be accessing public or debt markets," said Mr O'Leary. He pointed out that Ryanair had close to €3 billion in cash on its books and that the carrier "could buy the planes" for cash if it wished. "There's a whole range of financing (options)," he said.
CAFFE NERO TO SPEND €20m OPENING 40 IRISH OUTLETS - UK specialist coffee retailer Caffe Nero is planning to invest €20 million in Ireland over the next five years to open 40 stores and create up to 350 new jobs. Founder and majority shareholder Gerry Ford said that this was a show of “faith” in the Irish economic story and a strong signal of its long-term intentions for this market, writes the Irish Times. “We’ve been looking at Ireland for several years but we’re only really now beginning to feel comfortable with our international expansion,” he said. “We’ll open about eight to 10 stores a year in Ireland.” The company will open a cafe in Boston next month, its first venture into the United States. This will bring to seven the number of countries where it has operations. He said Caffe Nero would offer a European-style coffee house experience in Ireland, serving top quality coffee, “fresh, deli-style food” and a relaxed atmosphere that would prove attractive to families, professionals and retired people. “We won’t have a high price point. We’ll have free newspapers, free water, free wifi and music in store,” he added.
€2m A WEEK SPENT AT IKEA'S DUBLIN STORE - Shoppers at Ikea’s Irish store in Dublin last year spent almost €2m per week on home furnishings leading to the store almost doubling pre-tax profits to €5.8m. Accounts just filed by Ikea Ireland Ltd show the firm increased its pre-tax profits by 96% from €2.97m to €5.8m in the 12 months to the end of August 31 last, says the Irish Examiner. With bestsellers such as Billy bookcases, Expedit storage units and Lack tables, revenues increased marginally from €102.6m to €103.98m. The 2013 performance represents a turnaround in terms of the store’s profitability after it saw a decline in pre-tax profits from €11.4m in its first full year of operation in 2010 to €2.97m in 2012. The Ballymun outlet - equivalent in space to five and a half soccer pitches - contains 9,000 home furnishings, a 550-seater restaurant, food hall, creche and 1,850 car parking spaces. According to the directors’ report “the directors are satisfied with the results of the company for the year. The directors anticipate that the level of activity and profitability in future years will continue to be in line with expectations”. The increase in pre-tax profits arose from lower cost of sales and lower interest charges along with the increase in revenues.
BERLIN BOOSTS DAVID CAMERON'S EFFORT TO RENEGOTIATE LINKS WITH EU - David Cameron’s effort to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the Europe has been boosted after Germany said the EU had to ensure that the UK was legally protected from closer eurozone integration. George Osborne, UK chancellor, and Wolfgang Schäuble, his German counterpart, say in a joint article in the Financial Times that any treaty change must “guarantee fairness” for EU countries that stay outside the euro zone. The commitment will be welcomed in the City of London, which fears a Europe where a core of 18 euro zone countries agree rules for the single market and effectively impose them on all 28 member states. Berlin wants treaty change to overhaul the single currency’s governance, including creating a “budget commissioner” empowered to use common funds and reject national fiscal plans that threaten the euro’s stability. But the German government has now gone a step further, arguing in the FT that treaty change must also address one of key negotiating demands of Mr Cameron, the UK prime minister, before his planned 2017 referendum: the protection of the interests of euro “outs”. “As the euro area continues to integrate, it is important that countries outside the euro area are not at a systematic disadvantage in the EU,” Mr Schäuble and Mr Osborne write.