Morning business news - May 16

Friday 16 May 2014 10.47
Morning business news with Conor Brophy
Morning business news with Conor Brophy

A quarter of the main executive roles at Ireland's largest companies are held by women according to the annual Irish Times Top 1,000 Companies supplement. The newspaper finds a majority of heads of HR and head of marketing at the top 1,000 companies are female. Women are represented poorly at the very top of those organisations, however, with just 11% of chief executives or managing directors are female.  

Fiona Reddan is the editor of Top 1,000 Companies and she says that women hold 25% "c-suite" roles in Irish companies, which compares quite well with international figures. Even though women only hold 11% of CEO roles, Ms Reddan says this is also in line with international averages and shows that women are getting further ahead and punching through glass ceilings in the workplace. "C-suite" is the term that refers to the leadership team of a firm consisting of people with job titles featuring the word "chief" in the title. The construction industry shows the lowest level of women in management roles - with a figure of 16% - while HR roles has the highest at 60%. The journalist says that some roles - like finance roles - do not allow for extended periods of leave, like maternity leave - and so do not appeal to some women. On the issue of quotas in a boardroom, Mr Reddan says it would be one way to improve the ratios in a company.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Irish exploration company Petroceltic is to raise $100m through a placing of shares with a number of institutional investors. The placing is being handled by Davy, HSBC and Mirabaud Securities. As part of the placing an investment company, led by Malaysian oil and gas industry specialist Dato' Ahmad Fuad, will invest $50m by subscribing for shares. Alongside news of the placing, Petroceltic announced a $19m loss for the year primarily due to a $37m write-off following unsuccessful wells in Egypt, Bulgaria and Romania. The company is hoping for better results from another project in Romania and one in Kurdistan later this year.

*** Green Real Estate Investment Trust says it has invested €335m since it originally raised money to invest in Irish property and has since raised another €385m to invest in future properties. In its interim management statement Pat Gunne, chief executive of the investment trust, says that while it is seeing commercial property prices increase there are still what he called "attractive opportunities" for a disciplined buyer in the Irish market.

*** Ireland looks likely to benefit today from a second credit ratings upgrade from the agency Moody's in the space of six months. News agency Bloomberg typically polls a group of key economists and analysts ahead of ratings action and six of nine of them predict an upgrade from Moody's today. Irish government borrowing costs are already below where they were before the financial crisis even though all three of the main credit rating agencies Moody's, Standard and Poors' and Fitch rate Irish debt well below the triple-A status it enjoyed prior to 2008.

*** Tayto Park, Ireland's largest crisp-themed visitor attraction, expects to double attendance numbers to 850,000 by 2018 on the back of a €23.5m expansion. The park was founded by entrepreneur Ray Coyle - the man behind snack food company Largo, owner of both the Hunky Dorys and Tayto brands. It is seeking planning permission for a new development which would double the size of the park to 120 acres. Mr Coyle says he hopes building can be underway this summer and that the work would be complete in time for summer 2015.