Salesforce lobbies on HQ; Irish success in Hong Kong; and Boeing still in a spin

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

Some of Facebook’s lobbying efforts in Ireland are revealed. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Some of Facebook’s lobbying efforts in Ireland are revealed. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters


Pre-tax profits fell back by 30 per cent at Irish airline Ryanair on the back of lower fares, but strong growth in traffic and ancillary services, including priority boarding, saw revenues rise by 6 per cent to €7.6 billion.

US multinational Salesforce has engaged in a major lobbying effort for its controversial plan to add extra storeys to its new Docklands headquarters, targeting the Taoiseach, ministers, civil servants and advisers. Jack Horgan Jones has the details.

Of course, lobbying by multinationals is nothing new. Simon Carswell has details of Facebook’s efforts to get the government to increase its funding for the data protection commissioner back when the big EU states were sceptical that Ireland could manage a one-stop shop on European data protection.

Success for two growing Irish companies. Pestle & Mortar, the Naas-based skincare brand of Sonia Deasy says it is set to double revenues after winning contracts with Marks & Spencer in the UK and with Harvey Norman in Hong Kong. Ciarán Hancock reports.

And Brian Hutton writes that Ireland’s largest family-owned off-licence chain, O’Briens, has moved quietly into the UK market with the acquisition of two shops in London, though they are being very coy about the thinking behind the plans.

Boeing just can’t seem to extricate itself from the turbulence around its 737 Max planes. Now it has been forced to admit that a flaw in the software of flight training simulators meant they could not reproduce the flying conditions that downed two of the planes in the past six months.

KBC, the Belgian banking group, says it has now recouped nearly a third of the €1.4 billion it injected into its Irish unit during the financial crisis, writes Joe Brennan

Meanwhile Howard Kilroy, the Irish businessman synonymous with Smurfit Kappa has died at the age of 83. The man whom Michael Smurfit said he “could not have succeeded” in turning the business into an international player without was also director at many of Ireland’s blue-chip companies – Bank of Ireland, CRH, Waterford Wedgwood and Arnotts.

Chris Johns sees little prospect of improvement in the UK political climate with the imminent demise of Theresa May, noting that “all of the contestants for prime minister compete only over the hardness of their Brexit views. Nobody knows or cares what the next leader of the UK thinks about anything else.”

And Pilita Clark warns that the era of corporate greenwashing is coming to an end. With the climate debate is shifting, companies that fail to match green claims with action face a backlash, she says in her column.

Our diary for the week ahead lets you know what’s coming up.

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