Morning business news - June 24Tuesday 24 June 2014 11.50
Research from property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle shows €800m was invested directly in Irish commercial property over the three months to the end of June. That is on top of several hundred million euros worth of loan sales linked to commercial property assets from NAMA and Royal Bank of Scotland. Jones Lang estimates the total value of direct purchases and loan sales linked to commercial property will hit €4 billion this year, €600m ahead of the total for 2006.
Hannah Dwyer, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle in Ireland, says that the year has seen a very strong start to the investment market. She says that people are very interested in the Irish market, which she describes as "very active". The perception that we are an improving economy and a belief in the Irish property market is driving the recovery and activity in sales. Ms Dwyer says that despite the perception that all the buyers in the market are from overseas, she says that there are also a number of key Irish players. She also notes that the newly established property REITs are buying a number of properties across a broad sector base in the last few months. Ireland at the moment is a very popular destination for international investors, and Ms Dwyer says that the release of supply that is expected to come on the market in the next six to 12 months will be meet with a high level of demand. She also predicts that investors from the Middle East and Asia may turn to Irish investments in the near future.
NAMA, Ulster Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland are expected to drive a lot of deals in the next few months as they have a lot of property on their books which they want to sell. Jones Lang LaSalle predicts that the strong momentum in the market will continue for the rest of the year.
MORNING BRIEFS - All signs point to the release of a new iPhone by Apple in September. Its main manufacturer, China's Foxconn, has begun hiring 100,000 new staff, and Apple has doubled its forward investment in product tooling and manufacturing equipment for the year to $2.8 billion. Bloomberg reports this morning that production will begin shortly on a new, large-screen iPhone to be shipped to retailers within the next three months.
*** Irish hoteliers say they are seeing higher booking levels this year than last but are struggling to hire suitably qualified staff to cope with rising demand. The Irish Hotels Federation's quarterly barometer finds 72% of its members reporting an increase in bookings for the summer compared to last year. A similar number say their overall bookings are up year-to-date compared to 2013. But 73% of hotel and guesthouse owners surveyed by the IHF say they are finding difficulty recruiting staff. This time last year that figure was 64%.
*** Shares in the London-listed engineering company Kentz closed 32% higher after Canada's SNC Lavalin tabled a £1.2 billion takeover offer for the firm. Kentz started out as an electrical contractor in Clonmel, and now employs over 14,000 people worldwide. It specialises in providing engineering, construction and technical services to the oil and gas industries.