ENERGIA GEARING UP FOR ENTRY INTO RESIDENTIAL ENERGY MARKET - Energy provider Energia is entering the residential electricity and gas market in January next year. The company says the roll-out of its residential energy supply business will result in the creation of 100 new jobs.

Gary Ryan, Energia's Retail Director, says the company currently supplies energy to 65,000 business customers and now wants to roll out its products to residential customers. Mr Ryan says that the company's business customers can also register their own staff for a special residential affinity scheme. He says that while the company is not yet releasing prices for residential customers, Energia realises that good value is really important to consumers and Energia has in the past few years make sure it has the best value products for its customers. Through its parent group Viridian, the company has invested €1.2 billion in power plants here in recent years, he adds.

MORNING BRIEFS - Energy prices, as measured by the Bord Gáis Energy Index, fell 1% during October and are 5% lower than at the same stage last year. Oil prices were the main factor in the falls. John Heffernan, a power trader with Bord Gáis, said recent upward pressure on crude oil prices has been counteracted by an easing of geopolitical tension.

*** Employers' representative group Ibec's sentiment index is at its highest level in four years. After the end of the third quarter in September, the index stood at +17. This means there is a 17 percentage point gap between those who feel positive about the overall business environment and those who are not positive. When the index started four years ago negative sentiment vastly outweighed positive feelings. The Ibec index has swung from -70 to +17 since then.  

*** Intertrade Ireland has published its latest quarterly all-Ireland monitor of business conditions. Based on surveys with 750 businesses across the 32 counties, it records 31% as saying that they have seen an increase in sales over the past three months. This is up from 25% of firms in the previous quarter.

*** One of the companies feeling that uplift is building materials group Kingspan. It has reported a 13% increase in sales for the nine months to the end of September. An interim management statement from the company, which specialises in energy efficient building materials, showed a 14% rise in sales over the three month period to the end of September compared to 2012. Kingspan is seeing the benefit of acquisitions it made in August of last year. The company says it is seeing a pick-up in the UK construction sector and solid activity in Western Europe. The statement also points to a slowdown in the third quarter in activity the US over the third quarter, but says it is too early to call this a trend.