Banks eye Laya, small businesses are unhappy and China’s economic prospects

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Bank of Ireland and AIB, the Republic’s two pillar banks, are expected to be among parties that will run the rule over Laya Healthcare, which has been put on the market for as much as €200 million, according to banking sources. The process – which has yet to formally kick off – is also likely to attract interest from life and general insurance companies operating in the market, industry observers also said. Joe Brennan has the details

Three years of zero-Covid during which China effectively closed off from the world and rising geopolitical tensions have reinforced some foreign companies’ anxieties about Beijing’s approach to business under President Xi Jinping, writes Denis Staunton from Beijing. The Communist Party has made a point in recent weeks of stressing the importance of the private sector and signalling that there will not be a repeat of the targeting of business figures such as Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who recently reappeared in public in mainland China after a long absence.

In his Any Other Business column John Burns sees stock exchange woes on the radar, tries to guess Ryanair’s Boeing discount and finds that the RTÉplayer is now, well, a player.


Two-thirds of small firms say the Government has little understanding of their needs when setting policy affecting business, according to a survey carried out for non-bank lender Grid Finance, writes Joe Brennan. Four out of five of those polled claimed it is becoming more difficult to keep their business going, with many highlighting concerns about the incoming pension auto-enrolment scheme, which the Government is targeting for introduction next year, new employer-paid sick leave rules, and how to make their business greener.

Barretstown, the children’s charity, has named leading businesswoman Anne Heraty as chairwoman of its board. The founder and former chief executive of listed recruitment group CPL has been a director at the charity, which caters to children living with serious illness and their families through what it calls “therapeutic recreation”, since 2019.

“I grew up in Ballymun and I’m very proud of it. Quite a lot of successful people in life are from there,” Stephen Place, who runs a high-end concierge service in Malta, tells Wild Geese.

The modern type of bank run, happening on the internet over minutes rather than days, requires central banks to have new speedy ways to organise their response – and to have rapid ways to distinguish between what banks should be saved and what should be let go under, writes John FitzGerald in his weekly column. Another risk is that a fake news story, disseminated on social media, could bring down a solvent bank.

Those in the early stages of their career often wonder how long it will take to get to the top and what’s the best way of getting there, writes Olive Keogh in World of Work. For Eileen Treanor, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of California-based space tech company LeoLabs, it took a solid degree in accounting and finance as a foundation, an MBA to broaden her knowledge of business practices, and more than 20 years’ working for nine companies across different sectors as she steered her career from accounting and finance into operations and senior management.

Cork entrepreneur Norman Crowley has signed a deal with a leading global mining company to retrofit some 8,500 diesel mining trucks into electric vehicles over the next three years, with much of this work to take place at sites in the Republic. Speaking to our Inside Business podcast, Mr Crowley said his company, Cool Planet Group, would carry out some of the work at a new factory it has just completed at Powerscourt, Co Wicklow. He said the contract was valued at about €50 million.

And finally, meet The Irish Times Business People of the Month, Pat Rigney and Denise Rigney, co-founders of the Shed Distillery.