Three bidders for HealthBeacon, medicine supply issue worsens, and is the office romance worth it?

The best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

The examiner of HealthBeacon has drawn up a shortlist of three bidders for the embattled medical technology firm in advance of final offers being called on December 12th. The final parties are understood to include US home appliances distributor Hamilton Beach Brands, which has an existing partnership with the business and committed to fund HealthBeacon’s examinership. It is believed an Irish-based company and another US-headquartered business are also in the final list. Joe Brennan has the details.

Ireland should introduce a list of essential medicines in an effort to combat growing issues with supply shortages of key therapies in the market, according to a new report. It comes as the latest Medicines Shortages Index shows that Ireland’s ongoing issue with medicine supply is worsening. This time last year the list featured 178 types of medicine pack; that has now risen to 332, a rise of almost 87 per cent. Dominic Coyle reports.

Younger workers are sometimes characterised as puritanical, but research suggests they may be more open to the idea of workplace romance than older peers because the divide between private and work life is more porous, writes Emma Jacobs, but is it worth the risk?

The top 20 companies on the Irish stock market increased women members on boards by 12 per cent in the past year to beat a Government diversity target, according to a new report, reports Joe Brennan. However, the fourth annual Iseq 20 boards survey, carried out by executive search firm Spencer Stuart, found that Irish companies continue to be slow at promoting women to top executive roles.


An appeal by Ulster Bank against a High Court ruling that upheld two home loan customers’ entitlement to tracker mortgage refunds and compensation will proceed before the Court of Appeal next February, writes financial adviser Padraic Kissane in our opinion slot. At least 5,300 loan accounts may be affected by the appeal, with other lenders potentially affected as well, the bank submitted. Whatever the Court of Appeal decides, the lender said, there is likely to be a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

Christmas time is ‘make or break’ for booksellers

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“As an artist, most of my purchases – such as concert dresses, make-up, flights, hotels, and so on – may seem extravagant to people, but these are the necessary tools of my trade,” says Tara Erraught, mezzo-soprano, in Me & My Money.

Dominic Coyle tackles this question from a worried reader: Back in 2019 you wrote a piece headlined, “What’s a Fair Deal if wife follows late husband into nursing home care?” We are in a situation where my mother was in a nursing home and, on her death, the amount owing – 7.5 per cent – was paid to the HSE. At the time, the maximum contribution from the family home was 15 per cent and, as my father owned half the property, 7.5 per cent was the amount owing. Since then my father had to go into a nursing home and has died. The HSE is insisting that as he is the sole owner of the property (in that my mother had already died), 22.5 per cent of its value is due to them.

Tuesday has – all of sudden – become a make-or-break day for corporation tax and by extension the Government’s budgetary arithmetic, writes Eoin Burke-Kennedy. The Department of Finance will publish exchequer returns for November, the biggest corporate tax month of the year (it accounted for more than €5 billion in receipts last year). Revenue from the business tax has fallen for three consecutive months on the back of a slowdown internationally and a fall-off in demand for medicines and vaccines in the wake of the pandemic, which has dented the earnings of pharmaceutical firms here.

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