UTILITIES firm NTR has reported a profit of €31.4m for the financial year 2014,
its first such year since 2008.
It reported a loss of €16.2m the previous year and the return to profitability
was a result of a combination of strategies including cost reduction and cash
Profit before non-recurring items and foreign exchange impacts was €7.9m while
non-recurring items amounted to €30m.
EBITDA grew by 138pc year on year to €45.8m as a result of a full year of
operations of the 201MW Post Rock wind farm and a strong operational performance
by both the Group’s wind and water treatment assets, together with the removal
of €8m in central overheads. Revenues grew to €45.6m in the same period, an
increase of 29pc.
Last week's slew of data on the state of the economy contained many nuggets.
Among them was the sheer scale of Ireland's services exports, the value of which
last year exceeded the value of manufactured goods exports for the first time.
Dan O'Brien says: In this regard Ireland is unique. While most countries have
seen their services exports increase, reflecting the rise and rise of services
provision in economic activity, in no other sizeable economy are they in excess
of 50pc of GDP, as is the case in Ireland.
It is impossible to say how much further this trend will go, but the
possibilities appear endless given that the rise to dominance of services is a
very long-term trend.
While this trend has spared many of us from the back-breaking work our
forefathers did on farms and in factories, there are growing concerns about it.
If services jobs disappear, just as jobs in agriculture and manufacturing in the
past, what will replace them?
Irish Economy: Ireland's ephemeral services export boom
Opposition TDs have condemned as farcical and a joke the
guillotining of debate on a Bill that contains potential liabilities of €4
billion in State guarantees.
The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland Bill establishes a “bank” to
provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with capital funding, which
will be provided by the German state’s promotional bank KfW, the European
Investment Bank and the National Pension Reserve Fund.
The Bill, which passed all stages yesterday, was criticised by Fianna Fáil
finance spokesman Michael McGrath, who said the Government was leaving the
credit decisions about SMEs in the hands of the banks, which had “starved the
economy of the essential new lending it requires”.
Women accounted for seven out of 10 public liability insurance
claims last year, according to new figures released by the Injuries Board. The
Injuries Board is the independent statutory body which awards personal injury
compensation after motor, workplace and public liability accidents. It is
self-funded predominantly through fees charged to those who are responsible for
In previous years, women have accounted for a far higher proportion of awards
made than men. This trend continued last year with women accounting for 71.4% of
total awards made, as opposed to 28.6% for men.
Slips, trips and falls were the most common accident type, accounting for 67% of
total awards. They included accidents on wet floors/surfaces, uneven/broken
pavements, drains and manholes. The resulting injuries included fractures, soft
tissue injuries, bruises, cuts and lacerations. They resulted in awards of under
Miriam Lord: A real crisis has finally hit: how to
get a country star on to centre stage; Meanwhile, the ship of State drifts along
on the tides, lights ablaze and with loud country music blaring from somewhere
Is there anyone at the helm?
Who will keep us away from the rocks?
Never mind that.
There’s a reshuffle going on and Government jobs
to be handed out and a cowboy in Nashville pronouncing on the state of Irish
Any thoughts Garth on the Strategic Banking
Corporation of Ireland Bill?
Former property dealmaker Derek Quinlan, one of the most
swashbuckling players of the boom-time Irish economy, has said that he doesn’t
see himself ever returning to live in Ireland.
In an interview with US magazine Vanity Fair about the long-running shareholder
battle for the five-star London hotels Claridge’s, the Connaught and the
Berkeley, Mr Quinlan said: “I don’t see myself living there again.”
The former wealth manager, who is working to reduce his vast debts after the
Irish property crash and banking crisis, moved to Switzerland for personal and
tax reasons in 2009 and later to London.
Enterprise Ireland has warned about the divergence in size of Irish companies
and feels that domestic firms still need to become more competitive.
Despite its newly published 2013 annual report showing a very strong performance
from its client companies, Enterprise Ireland said yesterday that
competitiveness, leadership and lack of scale remain challenges for Irish
Speaking at the publication of the report, chief executive, Julie Sinnamon said:
“We have a small number of large companies in Ireland and a large number of
small companies. We need more mid-sized firms. Lack of scale remains a big
challenge for Irish enterprise. Our companies need to grow in scale both in
Ireland and in international markets.”
Euro Topics: After indications of a further case
of US espionage on its territory, the German government asked the CIA station
chief in Berlin to leave the country on Thursday. The US can't expect eternal
gratitude and must understand the Germans' anger, some commentators write.
Others see the move as a diplomatic affront and evidence of a new German
Doubts about shared values: Germany and the US are on the brink of a war of
diplomacy that could expose how bad relations are between the two countries, the
conservative German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: "The West's
enemies are the only ones who will be delighted over a spat between Germany and
the US. Because it means quarrelling and paralysis between two close allies who
- despite all the differences of opinion and mentality - share similar or even
identical goals and interests in many areas. And who always claim that their
alliance, their 'friendship', is based on a stable foundation of shared values
and beliefs. But doubts about that are growing on both sides of the Atlantic,
and that is the real explosive factor in this affair."
Malta betrays Europe with China deal: The governments of Malta and China on
Wednesday concluded an agreement on intense economic cooperation. Malta is
becoming a servant of Chinese interests in Europe and betraying its EU partners,
columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia criticises in the liberal-conservative daily
The Malta Independent: "The Labour Party and its people in government do not
have any sense of belonging to the European Union, no sense of possession,
loyalty or being part of a bloc that pulls together in mutual interest against
the real 'barranin' like China who threaten Europe's interests. Instead, Joseph
Muscat and his men see the European Union as something Malta can use and take
advantage of, to the point of siding with an outsider and working to further
that outsider's interests even if this might go against the interests of the
Low interest on savings spurs buying in France: The French government
announced on Thursday that it would lower the interest rate on the widely used,
state sponsored Livret A savings account as of August 1 from 1.25 to one
percent. That will do the economy good, the Catholic daily La Croix predicts:
"We want economic growth to revive, cheap loans and more housing to be built.
But we're annoyed when the interest rates on our savings drop. That's why fixing
the interest rate on the state-sponsored Livret A savings account is a delicate
matter for any government. The Livret A is the symbol of saving by the average
Joe, and there are almost as many of these accounts as there are people in
France. So the cut is also a psychological signal meant to encourage the French
to consume more, or to invest their money instead of hoarding it. They are known
to have a high level of savings, which is associated with fear of the future.
... Let's hope that the message will be widely understood. Especially by the