RYANAIR RULES OUT LONG-HAUL ROUTES – Low-cost airline Ryanair has made clear it has no plans to enter the long-haul market, according to The Irish Independent. The company’s deputy chief executive Michael Cawley said that the market did not suit Ryanair’s business model – pointing out that their 25 minute turnaround in airports would not offer much advantage if it did not allow you to fit an extra flight into the schedule. Mr Cawley did not think it was “ever envisaged” that Ryanair would enter the long-haul market, though he did say that there might eventually be an opportunity to do so if long-haul aircraft prices decline dramatically. Last week Ryanair signed a €11.7bn deal with Boeing which will see it build 175 new aircraft for the Irish company, though the planes are all understood to be made for short-haul travel.
LARGE RETAILERS DEMANDING PAY FOR DISPLAY – Some supermarket chains are seeking hundreds of thousands of euro from food companies in order to display products on their shelves, reports The Irish Times. The practice of so-called “hello money” is illegal, the newspaper says, but is reported as commonplace in the industry regardless of this. One chain is claimed to have threatened to delist the products of two companies unless they paid €500,000, while one dairy supplier is said to have paid a “seven-figure sum” to find a promotion. Another supplier claimed their refusal to pay such money often led to retailers failing to pay outstanding money owed to suppliers. However no suppliers were willing to give their names to the report, claiming they feared losing contracts with supermarkets if they did. Food and Drink Industry Ireland has called for a code of conduct for the sector, which the Department of Enterprise said was on the Government’s ‘A list’ of priorities. However Retailer Ireland said such a move would be a “retrograde move” that would put Irish operators at a disadvantage.
BLACKSTONE TAKES DELL DELIBERATIONS TO THE WIRE – Asset management firm Blackstone has still not made a decision on whether it will bid for computer-maker Dell, according to The Financial Times. The company is believed to be exploring several scenarios that would see it make an offer for all or part of Dell, the newspaper says. Founder Michael Dell has already launched a bid – along with Silver Lake Partners – to take the company private once again. Activist investor Carl Icahn is likely to express an interest in bidding for Dell. Blackstone is understood to have held talks with several parties about a joint bid for the company, including Dell shareholder Southeastern Asset Management.
AIB HIRES ULSTER BANK’S PRIVATE BANKING HEAD – AIB has hired Ulster Bank’s head of private banking in an attempt to beef up its wealth management division, reports The Irish Examiner. The bank is believed to have hired Patrick Farrell as part of a new strategy built around offering a wide range of services to customers. The newspaper notes that AIB’s private banking division has seen a sharp fall in activity in the past few years, largely due to its reliance on property-related investment. The Irish Examiner reports that the bank was approached about outsourcing its wealth management services division but decided to maintain it as an in-house operation. A number of other appointments are expected in the coming months, with Mr Farrell due to take up his position in May.