Bank of Ireland’s low ranking, Italy’s rejected budget, and Conor McGregor’s legal battle

‘Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from ‘The Irish Times’ business desk

The European Commission has given Italy’s populist government three weeks to redraft its 2019 budget or face European sanctions

The European Commission has given Italy’s populist government three weeks to redraft its 2019 budget or face European sanctions

 

The European Commission has given Italy’s populist government three weeks to redraft its 2019 budget or face European sanctions. The move, likely to prove politically explosive in Italy, represents the first time the commission has ever requested of a member state the presentation of a revised draft budgetary plan. It was a widely expected response to the Italian coalition’s determination to break with agreed EU budget deficit targets.

Bank of Ireland has been rated among the worst performers on a global list of 500 publicly-quoted lenders compiled by banking research firm Lafferty Group that assesses firms across a number of “quality and sustainability” measures. The country’s largest bank by assets is ranked 496 in the 2018 index, having received zero marks for culture, customer focus and investment in staff, while securing favourable grades for the quality of its equity capital buffers, return on assets, and information technology (IT) overhaul programme. AIB has been ranked at 353.

Britain is drawing up plans to charter ships to bring in emergency food and medicines in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit next March, in a move greeted with disbelief at a stormy meeting of Theresa May’s cabinet yesterday.

Women bore the brunt of Government decisions to cut welfare payments during the austerity years new research shows, with stay-at-home mothers and low-income earners faring the worst, according to new research from the ESRI.

Mixed martial artist Conor McGregor is fighting a legal battle in the US to avoid disclosing his sensitive financial data – including details of tax returns, his income and wealth – to a security guard suing him for personal injury.

In her London briefing, Fiona Walsh considers the situation UK chancellor Philip Hammond faces next week. “Having to deliver a budget three weeks early is hard enough for any chancellor, let alone with Brexit looming. It’s harder still when the books don’t balance and yet your prime minister has publicly declared an end to the age of austerity.”

In corporate news, shareholders of Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies have approved the merger of the two dairy processing co-operatives in separate ballots. There’s a lot less harmony at Aryzta, however, where its main shareholder, Cobas Asset Management, has accused the baked goods maker of “drawing an unduly grim picture” of its current financial situation to push through a planned €800 million share sale.

As the Government considers plans to introduce a form of automatic pensions for the estimated 53 per cent of the population who don’t have a private pension, Fiona Reddan argues that, letting people draw down some before retirement to help buying a home makes sense.