Morning business news - June 20

Friday 20 June 2014 11.22
Morning business news with Conor Brophy
Morning business news with Conor Brophy

The Women's Executive Network - a Canadian organisation with 19,000 members dedicated to the advancement and recognition of women in business - named and honoured its list of the 25 most powerful Irish business women last night. Pamela Jeffrey, the founder of WXN, said the most senior positions in business, politics or other fields in Europe is still held by men.

One of the WXN winners was the joint managing director of Cara Pharmacy, Ramona Nicholas. Pointing out that just 3% of leaders in the world's largest publicly traded companies are women, Ms Nicholas says that nonetheless she was "astonished" at the large number of successful women who have made it to the top of Irish companies. She says events like the WXN do make a positive difference as women can sometimes feel quite alone in leadership positions in business. Allowing women to gain confidence is key to moving ahead in business, while Ramona also feels that women have greater levels of emotional intelligence than men which can help them in their quest to move up the career ladder.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Insurance company FBD Holdings has upped its estimate for weather-related claims from last winter by €4m to €44m.In a trading statement, it says the impact of those weather claims and more frequent motor claims will be €16m in 2014. As a result it has cut its earnings forecast for the year from a range of 120 to 130 cent previously to a range of between 70 and 80 cent.

*** A comprehensive trade and investment agreement between the EU and the US could lead to a 1.1% increase in Ireland's annual economic output or GDP, a study by Copenhagen Economics has found. That GDP boost is double the predicted average rise in GDP across the EU from any such deal. The findings of the report are being published to coincide with a conference on the Transatlantic Trade being hosted in Dublin by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton. Should a comprehensive trade deal be agreed between the EU and the US the tangible benefits from that projected 1.1% rise in Ireland's economic output would include around 8,000 extra jobs.

*** A deal to recapitalise Irish banks retrospectively from the EU's bank bailout fund would be "politically difficult", according to the chair of the Euro group of finance ministers. Jeroen Dijsselbloem said such a move, which would involve using the ESM fund to take stakes in some of the bailed out banks, would technically be possible. Apart from political difficulties, though, he said the cap on the fund meant there were limits on what it could do.

*** The troubled handset maker Blackberry eked out a surprise quarterly profit of $23m over the three months to the end of may. That compares to an $84m loss over the same quarter last year and a $423m quarterly loss earlier this year. The quarterly profit had more to do with dramatically reduced costs than any pick-up in demand for Blackberry phones. Revenues continued to fall for the Canadian company though it reported that sales of its new low-cost Z3 smartphone were ahead of expectations.

See the full list of Ireland's 25 most powerful women