“Ireland INC: A History of Irish Business” out now

Ireland INC: A History of Irish Business is out now: the first chronology of Irish business, starting with TK Whitaker’s transformation of Irish economic policy.



A History of Irish Business is the result of nearly four years of research, interviews and writing by a range of business journalists and provides some unique interviews, archive and business history spanning sixty years, in a stunning hardback edition of over 600 pages.

Beginning in 1958 with TK Whitaker’s Programme for Economic Development, this first volume details the evolution of Irish business community in both a domestic and global context and is the first chronology of Irish business.

Published by Ink Publishing, Ireland INC: A History of Irish Business features the work of leading business journalists, profiling the sectors, events, businesses and political leaders instrumental in forming the Irish business landscape. The book includes unique profiles and conversations with a range of influential business leaders spanning six decades of Ireland INC‘s evolution, including Michael Smurfit, Dr TK Whitaker, Denis O’Brien, Wilbur Ross, Herb Kelleher, Peter Sutherland, Dermot Desmond, Martin Naughton, Pádraig Ó hUigínn, Frances Ruane, Gary McGann, Don Keough and fascinating interviews from the archives of Business & Finance, including Tony O’Reilly, Tony Ryan, Tom Roche and many more.

Ireland INC: A History of Irish Business provides a unique source of reference for Irish and international business leaders, entrepreneurs, business students, policymakers, political leaders and historians alike.

Volume one outlines the evolution of the business community: successes and failures, booms and busts, pivotal moments and extraordinary personalities and businesses that have created a footprint in boardrooms across the world.

The book is available to buy online and from Irish stockists including branches of Barker & Jones, Book Centre, Dubray Books, Eason, Hodges Figgis, O’Mahony’s, Ennis Bookshop, Waterstones and WH Smith at Dublin Airport.

Financial insecurities putting UK workers off becoming their own bosses

61% of employees across the UK aspire to work for themselves while 30% of aspiring entrepreneurs feel it’s too risky, says Vorwerk study.

London (68%) and the North East (66%) are where “entrepreneurial spirit” is at its highest, yet 56% of UK workers are being turned off pursuing their ambitions of becoming their own bosses due to lack of financial security, according to a Vorwerk study.

This is linked to the everyday stresses of mortgage payments and other bills, which are in turn preventing half of the population to take the risk and follow their dreams. 10% says their current roles are impacting their health.

Even with 61% of UK workers wanting to run their own businesses, 36% lack the confidence to start one, 30% feel it’s too risky and 32% don’t like the fact they would not know how frequent the work would be.

The top five barriers for UK workers not starting up their own businesses are:

  1. Lack of financial security (56%)
  2. Lack of confidence (36%)
  3. Uncertainty of work coming in (32%)
  4. Too risky (30%)
  5. Don’t know what to do (23%)

Thomas Henningsson from Vorwerk said: “It’s totally understandable that people are worried about the regularity of work and cash flow when it comes to going alone – but there are lots of inspirational people around who have done it and are now reaping the rewards.”


Jaguar Land Rover to create 150 new jobs in Ireland

The UK automobile giant is to open a new software engineering centre in Shannon, Co. Clare, Ireland, which will create 150 new jobs. (Pictured: Dr Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover)

Shannon is seen as a great business link for the firm globally and the new centre will look to hone in on Jaguar Land Rover establishing the company’s plans for electric and automated vehicles development through new, innovative technologies.

The development of the next generation of electric vehicles at Shannon is supported by the Irish Development Agency.

The news also correlates with Jaguar Land Rover teaming up with the online education provider Udacity. This education firm specialises in courses revolving around automated driving, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and data analytics.

The Minster of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, said: “This is a great boost for Shannon, Co. Clare and the Midwest Region. Jaguar Land Rover are iconic brands which have endured through innovation and staying ahead of their competitors. This new software engineering centre will bring 150 new high-quality jobs to Shannon. The region has much to offer with qualified and talented people and I wish Jaguar Land Rover and its team well in its endeavours.”

Nick Rogers, Executive Director of Product Engineering, said: “Technical innovation lies at the heart of Jaguar Land Rover and our innovation is continuous. The new facility provides an exciting opportunity for us to pioneer future autonomous and electrification technologies. The heart of our business will always be in the UK. The creation of a team in Shannon strengthens our international engineering capabilities and complements our existing team of more than 10,000 engineers based in the UK.”

Read it on businessandfinance.com


Carillion takes hit after rescue plan rejected by lenders

Carillion shares fall on reports that lenders have rejected a rescue pan of the construction company.

Carillion is struggling with £900 million of debt and a £590 million pension deficit. Workers’ unions are being asked to step in to attempt to save the 19,500 jobs that are held at the construction firm.

Shares were down on morning trading on the London Stock Exchange. By mid-afternoon, shares were down 26.5% (5.3 points) to 14.7%. To put this into perspective, Carillion shares have lost 90% of their value since July 2017.

The key lenders of HSBC, Barclays, Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland have discussed reducing debt and restructuring the organisation’s balance sheet.

A government spokeswoman declined to comment on any specific meetings on the potential future of the company. She said: “Carillion is a major supplier to the government with a number of long-term contracts. We are committed to maintaining a healthy supplier market and work closely with our key suppliers.

“The company has kept us informed of the steps it is taking to restructure the business. We remain supportive of their ongoing discussions with their stakeholders and await future updates on their progress.”

A spokesman from Carillion declined to comment.

Superdry sees increase in sales but drop in profits

The clothing company has seen sales rise to double digits. However, profits did drop.

The company’s shares faltered after recent currency fluctuations.

Sales rose by 20% to £402 million from the 26-week period ending on the 28 October, 2017. This may be so but gross profits dropped 28% to £9.1 million. Shares at the fashion brand have dropped 2.4% to £19.91 in the morning market.

The rise in sales can be attributed to the company’s expansion, where in the 26-week period it opened 91 new stores (23 of its own and 68 are licensed premises).

In a ten-week period to the 8 January, sales rose 13% to £216 million. The CEO of Superdry, Euan Sutherland, said, “Our focus is on executing against the growth opportunities we have identified. We have a clear brand positioning, an innovative approach to digital marketing, a disruptive multi-channel approach and a growing culture of operational excellence.”

Superdry will have to be careful in attempting to stave off such recent declines as Debenhams, where disappointing sales figures will likely lead to job cuts and store closures.


£1 billion spent more than last year during Christmas period

Kantar Worldpanel says that £1,054 was the average spend by households over the 12-week Christmas period to the 31 December.

The figures show supermarket sales increased in value by 3.8%. £1 billion pounds more than 2016 was spent during this period with a staggering £747 million being spent on the 22 December alone.

In terms of being the UK’s fastest-growing retailers, there is nothing to separate Aldi and Lidl, both growing sales by 16.8% year-on-year. Tesco was the fastest-growing of the big four supermarkets with an increase in sales of 3.1%.

Asda and Morrisons grew 2.2% and 2.1% in sales, respectively.

Online supermarket sales enjoyed their best Christmas yet (up 4.9% year-on-year).


Jaguar Land Rover hits record sales

The UK’s largest carmaker says it hit record sales in 2017 even with the first drop in six years in demand for new cars across Britain.

According to Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), 178,601 Jaguars were sold last year, which is a rise of 20% from the year before. Land Rover sales grew 2% to 442,508. Sales have more than tripled since 2009 and this news marks the seventh successive year of growth.

This is even more remarkable given the decline in demand for new cars across the UK in 2017, the first drop in over half a decade.

China was the most important region for the company, with sales reaching 146,399, up 23% year-on-year. This, along with growing demand in the US, has provided a safety net against the uncertainty of the UK’s position in the EU and Brexit.

JLR’s Sales Director, Andy Goss, said that though sales targets were delivered, the company still “[faces] tough times in key markets such as the UK”, particularly given the tax hit on diesel.


Business and consumer demand for new cars declined in 2017

Demand for new cars fell 6.8% last year, the first drop in six years.

Sales of business fleet purchases dropped as well by 4.5%. Total new car registrations fell 5.7% to just over 2.5 million cars.

This decline can be attributed to the unknown future of diesel/diesel levies and Brexit uncertainty, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The CEO of the SMMT, Mike Hawes, said that 2017 was a “lacklustre” year and that further weakening is to be expected in the market for 2018.

Business registrations saw the biggest fall with a 7.8% decline. These figures are an issue, but even so, demand is still at a historically high level, says Mike Hawes.

Slowest UK house price growth for a half decade in 2017

The year ended 2.6% higher than it started but London was the weakest area for the first time in 13 years.

In December, the average house price in the UK was £211,156, which was a 0.6% month-on-month increase, according to Nationwide Building Society.

The 2.6% increase, the slowest since 2012, showed a poor comparison in relation to December 2016, which held a 4.5% annual increase.

Prices were down in London to 0.5% annually, with an average of £470,992. On the other end of the spectrum, the West Midlands was the best-performing region with a 5.2% annual increase.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland also saw annual increases of 3.3%, 2.6% and 2%, respectively.

Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardener said: “London saw a particularly marked slowdown, with prices falling in annual terms for the first time in eight years, albeit by a modest 0.5%. London ended the year the weakest-performing region for the first time since 2004.”

Robert Gardner went on to say that Brexit will play a huge role in determining house prices going forward.

UK manufacturing growth remains strong for end of 2017

Britain saw the highest three-month manufacturing growth since 2014.

According to the survey, the Markit/Cips UK manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of factory sentiment showed activity recorded an average rate of 57 in the three months to December. This is the strongest recording in three-and-a-half years (since June 2014).

Though last month saw a dip to 56.3 from 58.2 in November, it remained well above the level of 50, which represents growth.

An increase in production is linked to an increase in orders over the last 18 months. Growth was strongest among producers of partly-finished goods; 54% of companies said they expect an increase in production throughout 2018.