RTÉ could be close to break even this year having earlier predicted a €36m loss

Seen & Heard: Irish Life, Iarnród Éireann, Burberry, and data centres also make the headlines

Dee Forbes, RTÉ director general

Dee Forbes, RTÉ director general

 

RTÉ’s finances have improved so much in recent weeks that the broadcaster is now expecting to end the year in a close to break-even position, according to the Sunday Independent.

Strong TV advertising and cost cutting at the organisation has helped to change the fortunes of RTÉ, which projected a loss of €36m in the summer months.

Irish Life eyes acquisition

Irish Life is in advanced talks to buy independent wealth manager, Harvest Financial Services, according to the Sunday Times.

The deal would mark a signficant milestone in Irish Life’s push to tighten its grip on distribution by buying up independent financial advisors, the newspaper said. Harvest is a big player in pensions and tax-based investments in the Irish market. At the end of last year it had 1,500 clients and €1 billion under administration.

Efforts to sell the business to London-based St James Place earlier this year and to US giant Cantor Fitzgerald in 2016, both ended in failure.

Irish Life bought financial consultancy Invesco, which had €5 billion under management, in 2018. Last year it bought Acumen & Trust, which was responsible for €1.1 billion of clients’ money. In March it swooped for Conexim Advisors, which managed €1 billion.

Rail ticket system

New York-listed Cubic Corporation, which has supplied training systems to the US army, has won a €9.3 million deal to provide a ticket system to State transport company, Iarnród Éireann, the Sunday Independent reported.

In a statement, the US company said that its Cubic Transportation Systems divsion and software developer, Squills, would upgrade the rail network operator’s ticket system.

Iarnród Éireann told the newspaper that the internet had become a significant means of selling tickets to travellers. “The nature of the new agreement is that Iarnród Éireann will automatically get system upgrades over the life of the agreement, up to early 2027,” the State company said.

It added that this meant its ticket vending system would keep up with technical trends and changing customer demands.

Data centres and power plants

All data centres planned for the Dublin area will have to build their own power plants or risk having electricity cut off as a consequence of high demand in the capital, the Business Post said.

The news comes amid growing concern about the pressure that data centres’ large appetites for energy is putting on national electricity supplies.

The Sunday Business Post reported that the Republic’s national grid operator, Eirgrid, has told those hoping to build data centres close to the capital that it will only be able to give them a stable connection to its network if they build their own “onsite” power plants.

Eirgrid said in a report that the data centres’ electricity generators are most likely to be gas fired, as they will need to capable of running continuously for long periods.

A spokesman for the grid operator told the newspaper that large energy users, particularly data centres, were likely to heavily influence long-term electricity demand in the Republic.

Burberry’s Brexit warning

Burberry has told the British government that a post-Brexit plan to scrap tax-free shopping for tourists will rob the luxury fashion maker of its “home market advantage”, The Observer reported.

Julie Brown, Burberry’s chief operating officer, predicted that tourists who account for half the company’s sales, could opt to shop in Paris or Milan over British cities.