Morning business news - May 2

Friday 02 May 2014 11.07
Morning business news with Conor Brophy
Morning business news with Conor Brophy

Shares in Mainstay Medical, a company which is developing an implant to help people with chronic back pain, begins trading on the Irish Stock Exchange this morning.

The company raised around €18m and is valued at €90m after an initial public offering of its shares in both Ireland and France. Backed by investors including the Irish venture capital fund Fountain Healthcare Partners, Mainstay has listed on the ESM market in Dublin and Euronext Paris.

Mainstay Medical's chief executive Peter Crosby says the company's device - ReActiv8 - works by sending electrical impulses to stimulate nerves working muscles critical to stability in the lower back area which may have been weakened by injury. Mr Crosby says that about 2 million people in Europe and the US suffer from chronic back pain, which prevents them from doing normal day to day activities like minding the kids and making beds. The company's CEO says the next step for the company is to continue its clinical trials and gain regulatory approval for ReActiv8 in Europe.  He says the company decided to opt for a dual listing in both Dublin and Paris as the company, which was first established in the US in 2008, is now headquartered in Ireland and Paris is the go to destination for med-tech firms. Ireland will benefit from any growth in the company, Mr Crosby stated, including new investment and new jobs.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller is facing the embarrassing prospect that a resolution on his pay will be voted down at this afternoon's annual general meeting of the airline's shareholders. A spokesman for the Department of Transport has indicated the Government will vote against the non-binding resolution on pay on the grounds that it objects to an increase in the level of the company's contribution to his pension.

*** Paper and packaging company Smurfit Kappa saw a 2% increase in revenue and a 12% rise in earnings in the first three months of the year compared to the first quarter of 2013. In a statement alongside its first quarter results, chief executive Gary McGann credited strong performances in North and South America. That is despite the hit the company had to take from reducing the value of its assets and its cash balances in Venezuela by €172m and €69m respectively because of a devaluation of the Venezuelan Bolivar.

*** Ulster Bank has reported a significant improvement in loan losses according to quarterly results published by its parent RBS. RBS, 81% owned by the British government, said impaired loans at Ulster bank are down 80% compared to the first quarter of 2013. RBS has had to inject just over £14 billion into Ulster Bank so far to compensate for massive losses on commercial property, business and mortgage loans.