Ryanair results, social housing leasing and Coca-Cola’s Dublin hub

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

Activity in the Irish housebuilding sector bounced back strongly last month following the lifting of Covid-related restrictions on residential construction. Photograph: iStock

Activity in the Irish housebuilding sector bounced back strongly last month following the lifting of Covid-related restrictions on residential construction. Photograph: iStock

 

Ryanair has reported a record annual after-tax loss of €815 million after Covid-19 restrictions forced it to scrap over 80 per cent of flights. We have the airline’s latest financial results.

The number of social housing units being leased to local authorities on a long-term basis has increased significantly this year despite criticism of the costs involved, reports Eoin Burke-Kennedy. Figures provided by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien show a total of 726 new social units were leased by local authorities in the first three months of 2021. But controversy around the leasing scheme continues as councils don’t own them in the end.

Eoin also reports that activity in the Irish housebuilding sector bounced back strongly last month following the lifting of Covid-related restrictions on residential construction. According to Ulster Bank’s latest construction PMI, housebuilding activity jumped to its highest level so far this year.

Nearly 80 per cent of companies could bring their staff back to the workplace by September if permitted under Government guidelines, a new survey published by the employers’ group Ibec suggests. It says the survey findings reaffirmed the urgent need for Government to provide clarity and timelines to support businesses in safely returning staff to the workplace. Martin Wall has the details.

Dominic Coyle reports that West Pharmaceuticals has doubled its Waterford workforce to meet demand for Covid-19 medical supplies. The company says it is involved with over 90 per cent of the companies that have Covid-19 vaccines or vaccine candidates in Phase III trials.

Meanwhile, there is more good jobs news as Coca-Cola is to establish a new digital hub in Dublin to help accelerate its digital transformation, creating 40 jobs in its first phase. Ciara O’Brien, reports the hub is one of six worldwide, and will create jobs for data engineers, software developers, data analysts and technical experts. Recruitment is already underway.

The problem with a wealth tax?There’s not enough rich people, writes Eoin Burke-Kennedy ,who says its edifying to think that a wealth tax or a solidarity tax on the super-rich could raise revenue for investment in public services. But it won’t.

If people can choose which days they work at home and which in the office, a large number will stay home on Mondays. And also on Fridays, writes Pilita Clark. However, this spells trouble for businesses both in terms of productivity and atmosphere, with managers being warned to be careful to avoid offices pocked with so much empty space that they feel “energy-less, dead and without buzz”.

The climate crisis is a bigger deal for businesses than Brexit or Covid-19, writes Mike Hayes of KPMG Ireland. Hayes says Irish businesses need to act now and be ambitious on decarbonisation and that resilience and adaptation by Irish businesses will be key to achieving success in the fight against climate change.

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