Missing rent, landlord pain and getting Ireland online

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

David McCourt (left), founder of Granahan McCourt, which has pulled out of the broadband process in Northern Ireland.

David McCourt (left), founder of Granahan McCourt, which has pulled out of the broadband process in Northern Ireland.


Aviva’s property funds are collecting as little as 60 per cent of rents from commercial tenants hit by the economic fallout from the Covid crisis shutdown, writes Joe Brennan

It’s hardly in the public interest for the State to support landlord incomes by providing subsidies to enable companies to meet their rent payments, John FitzGerald argues in his column. Landlords, he says, should shoulder their share of the pain

Elsewhere, the company charged with delivering the National Broadband Plan has opted out of becoming an all-Ireland provider after failing to meet a deadline for submitting a tender for Northern Ireland’s equivalent plan, reports Eoin Burke-Kennedy. It is understood that Granahan McCourt felt business interruption by coronavirus did not give it sufficient time to prepare a bid.

Sticking with telecoms, Denis O’Brien’s Digicel appears to have got its landmark debt restructuring away, but the company had to back down in its efforts to persuade investors holding debt repayable in 2023 to take a little pain and also wait longer for their money. Joe Brennan reports.

Ventilators may be in huge demand as hospitals treat Covid patients, but that failed to prevent a sharp fall in sales for medical device giant Medtronic in the final three months of its fiscal year to April 24th. Newly appointed chief executive Geoff Martha is confident of a bounce back but wary of US moves to try to pressure manufacturing business to set up in the United States.

Ryanair has come out backing masks as an alternative to “unimplementable” quarantine arrangements for travellers when flying resumes, writes Peter Hamilton. But it faces another challenge as Lufthansa edges closer to a state bailout.

Another Irish company facing challenges is Aryzta where activist investors have tabled a call for an EGM with the intention of ditching almost half the current board of the troubled baked goods group – including its chairman and chief executive. Eoin Burke-Kennedy has the details.

Charlie Taylor asks whether the rise of remote working will spell the end of the corporate HQ and, if not, what will the world of work look like when things return to the new normal.

In Caveat, Mark Paul takes issue with chief medical officer Tony Holohan’s call for “a mandatory regime of self-isolation for 14 days at a designated facility for all persons arriving . . . from overseas”, saying Ireland needs to adopt a sensible approach to the ongoing risk from Covid-19.

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