More than 70% of top Irish firms take dim guidance view

Research also shows that 10 big companies have implemented staffing changes

More than 70 per cent of the Republic’s top publicly listed companies have withdrawn revenue guidance or warned on the outlook for their business this year, according to research seen by The Irish Times.

The data show that 19 out of 26 companies, including the Iseq 20 constituents and other large Irish entities which are listed in London, have either formally withdrawn full-year guidance as a result of the Covid-19 crisis or warned on their outlook.

AIB, CRH, Flutter Entertainment, Greencore, Grafton Group and UDG are among those that withdrew guidance.

The group of seven that haven't warned on outlook or formally withdrawn guidance include: Hibernia Reit, I-Res Reit, Kingspan, Origin Enterprises, FBD Holdings, Applegreen and Uniphar.


ICG, while it didn’t explicitly warn on its full year guidance, on Thursday said: “It is very difficult to estimate the full year financial impact on the group, as the reduction in passenger revenue will be material.”

Furloughed staff

Meanwhile, 10 companies who have furloughed staff said they'd lay people off or make changes regarding employee pay. AIB said it plans to cut 1,500 jobs by 2022, while baked goods group Aryzta has furloughed 30 per cent of staff. C&C has furloughed approximately 70 per cent, while Ryanair plans to make about 3,000 job cuts.

Of those companies that have announced plans to eliminate jobs, just one – AIB – has not announced plans to cut executive and board pay. Other listed lenders Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB, who are not included in this research because they doesn't form part of the Iseq 20, have also made no changes to their executive and board remuneration policies.

Many of the lenders' UK peers have cut executive remuneration. In Ulster Bank parent RBS, the chief executive and chairman have taken pay cuts of 25 per cent, the boss of Barclays has donated 33 per cent of fixed pay for six months to a community aid fund established by the bank while the boss of HSBC is forgoing 25 per cent of fixed pay for six months and waiving his bonus.

“The Government has implemented pay restrictions on Irish banks which apply to AIB, and AIB adheres strictly to these restrictions,” an AIB spokesman said.

‘Reducing costs’

A Bank of Ireland spokesman said the bank is “reducing costs overall but cuts in remuneration is not something that we are considering at this time. Irish banks are not comparable to banks elsewhere or to companies within other sectors. No variable pay or bonuses, unlike the UK banks, results in the remuneration landscape being very different,” the spokesman added.

Permanent TSB declined to comment.

Elsewhere, some 12 companies, including Cairn Homes, Smurfit Kappa and Total Produce, have decided to cancel or defer their dividend payment. Just four companies out of the 26 announced plans to buy back shares.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business