Live News

Live News: Fake Ozempic circulating in Europe; Tirlán cutting up to 150 jobs

Bite-sized servings of the latest in business, tech and current affairs

Welcome to the Business Post’s Live News section. We’re here all day to keep you up to date on the latest developments in business, tech and current affairs.

15.35 - Booking.com says EU regulation is putting them at a disadvantage

Glenn Fogel, chief executive of Booking Holdings, has not ruled out leaving the EU market in response to the regulator burden that the bloc imposes on his business.

The rules are putting them at a “competitive disadvantage”, said Fogel, specifically calling out regulations that force it to allow hotel companies to offer lower prices on their own websites than Booking.com.

Speaking to the Financial Times, he said: “I believe in giving customers the best prices. Any regulation that prohibits us [from doing that], I consider that to be a dumb regulation.”

He said he wouldn’t say no to moving the company’s headquarters out of the trading bloc in response to the rules.

15.15 - Fake Ozempic circulating in Europe and Americas, WHO warns

The World Health Organization warned that fake batches of Novo Nordisk’s hit diabetes drug Ozempic have been circulating amid soaring demand for the medicine, which some patients use to lose weight.

As reported by Bloomberg, three falsified batches were identified in Brazil and the UK in October of last year and in the US in December, the WHO said on Thursday.

Though the global public health body has been monitoring growing numbers of reports of fake semaglutide, as Ozempic is known generically, since 2022, this is the first time it has issued an official warning notice.

The counterfeit products could harm patients’ health because they don’t contain the correct ingredients, and in some cases they may even contain a different drug — such as insulin — which could be dangerous when taken incorrectly, the WHO said.

14.40 - Department of housing trumpets sagging commencement figures

The department of housing has cheered the latest housing commencement figures, which show that 1,983 units were started, down 35 per cent on the same month last year.

However, the body is keen to point out that over the last 12 months, there have been almost 52,000 commencements, up 86 per cent on the year before that.

Those figures were likely boosted by a rush from developers to avail of a levies waiver, which has since been extended.

Last year, the government introduced the scheme in response to concerns from developers about the rising costs of delivering new housing.

The scheme allows developers that start a housing project before April 24 to avoid such levies, typically used by local authorities to pay for local infrastructure.

14.10 - Bewleys entitled to new lease from Johnny Ronan, says judge

Grafton Street’s Bewleys Café should get a new lease from Johnny Ronan’s RGRE Group, a Circuit Civil Court judge has said.

As reported by RTÉ, Judge Jennifer O’Brien ruled that the iconic café was entitled to the new lease, with two days in July set aside for the court to decide on the terms of the new tenancy.

RGRE was represented by Hugh O’Neill SC and barrister David Whelan, and counsel for Bewleys was Gavin Ralston SC.

13.30 - Tirlán cutting up to 150 jobs across the company

Food company Tirlán announced that it is to implement a ‘cost reduction programme’, which will see the co-op shedding up to 150 jobs from across the organisation.

It is making the decision in light of rising costs, it said, in areas such as energy, interest rates, wages and environmental compliance.

The losses aim to position Tirlán strongly for future challenges, allowing for “focus on product innovation and growth in value-added products,” according to the company.

12.55 - A third of US CFOs see the presidential election impacting investment decisions

Monetary policy, inflation and labour remain the top worries for US finance chiefs for the coming 12 months, with nearly one-third of executives in a survey saying they are delaying, scaling down or permanently cancelling investments due to uncertainty surrounding the US presidential election.

As reported by Bloomberg, about 32 per cent of respondents said they see this year’s election impacting investment decisions, according to Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

It found that executives are watching for the Federal Reserve’s next steps, signs of further economic slowdown and the presidential campaign as they weigh spending decisions for the remainder of 2024 and for 2025.

12.30 - Big interview with investment chief Colm McDonagh

Our markets correspondent Kathleen Gallagher has written an extensive interview with Colm McDonagh, chief executive of Insight Investment Europe.

In it, McDonagh goes into the cultural difference he’s noticed between the investment communities in Ireland, the UK and the US, his thought on Ireland’s impending pension auto-enrolment and the big trends in the investment space.

ESG investment, which has taken a bruising lately, also formed part of their discussion, and he doesn’t think that views on the topic should be imposed from asset managers.

12.00 - BOE holds interest rates

The Bank of England has held interest rates at their highest level since 2008, despite UK inflation returning to its official 2 per cent target last month.

The Bank’s governor, Andrew Bailey, said policymakers “need to be sure that inflation will stay low and that’s why we’ve decided to hold rates at 5.25 per cent for now”.

11.15 - 72 per cent of Ireland’s inward FDI came from the US in 2022

Ireland’s stock of foreign direct investment in 2022 was more than €1.2 trillion, an increase of 2 per cent on the year before.

Around 72 per cent of the inward investment into our economy, or €921 billion, ultimately came from the US, with Japan and Bermuda also being significant players in our economy.

About 4 per cent of our inward investment was ultimately from Ireland, as it left our economy and returned back as FDI.

30 per cent of our inward FDI positions were pass-through investment, meaning foreign multinationals invest in their Irish affiliates, who then invest those funds into another economy.

10.20 - EV sales slump in Europe

Automakers in Europe sold 2.6 per cent fewer vehicles in May than a year ago as buyers balked at the still-high prices of electric models.

New-car registrations fell to 1.09 million units last month, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said Thursday. EV sales slumped 11 per cent amid declines in several major markets, and their share of the total also decreased.

High borrowing costs and muted growth across Europe are weighing on consumer sentiment.

The full story is here.

10.00 - European stocks rise ahead of central bank decisions

European stocks rose at the open as traders await the monetary policy decisions of a handful of central banks.

The FTSE has edged higher ahead of the Bank of England’s rate cut decision on Thursday, trading up 0.26 per cent as of 08.50am.

The regulator is expected to maintain interest rates at at 5.25 per cent, a 16-year high. Despite promising inflation data on Wednesday, “hot” wage growth and service sector inflation means that traders have little hope of rate relief this afternoon.

The full story is here.

09.35 - ESB cuts EV charging rates

ESB ecars has announced that it plans to decrease its prices for electric vehicle (EV) charging from tomorrow, by up to 13 per cent, as wholesale energy costs fall.

The reduced rates will see 13 per cent taken off the unit rates for high-power, 200-kilowatt chargers, fast chargers (up to 100 kilowatts) decreasing by 12 per cent and an 8 per cent reduction to standard 22 kilowatt chargers.

This means that high-powered chargers will have a rate of €0.59 per kilowatt hour, fast chargers a rate of €0.57 and standard chargers €0.52.

The full story is here.

08.37 - NatWest to acquire Sainsbury’s retail banking unit

NatWest Group has agreed to acquire Sainsbury’s banking business as the British lender looks to seize more market share in retail banking, Bloomberg reports.

Britain’s second-largest grocer agreed to pay NatWest £125 million (€148 million) as part of the transaction, the companies said in a statement on Thursday. The deal will give NatWest a greater foothold in consumer finance and includes £2.5 billion of unsecured personal loans and credit cards balances, along with £2.6 billion of customer deposits.

“NatWest is under-weight from a market share perspective in unsecured personal lending and credit cards, with this having been previously identified by management as an area for growth,” Gary Greenwood, an analyst at Shore Capital, said in a note to clients. “As such, the transaction fits with the group’s strategic objectives.”

08.30 - Applications open for 184 Tallaght cost rental apartments

The Land Development Agency (LDA) has today opened applications for 184 cost rental apartments in Cookstown in Tallaght, County Dublin.

The mix of apartments are made up of studio, one-bed and two-bed apartments and can be applied for via an online portal, which will open at noon today for a week.

It overlooks the Cookstown Luas stop on the Red Luas Line, with rents starting at €1,000 for a studio apartment and rising to €1,425 for a two-bed.

The development is delivered in partnership with Stranwill Ltd.

08.05 - Green Party to name new leader on July 8

The Green party is set to name its new leader on July 8, in the wake of a meeting of the party’s executive committee yesterday evening.

Nominations for the forthcoming leadership contest can be submitted from 9am today, and will remain open until Monday night.

Two candidates have declared their intention to run in the contest so far, Roderick O’Gorman, minister for children and integration, and Pippa Hackett, junior minister for agriculture.

07.41 - Aer Lingus could have to ask rivals for digout

Aer Lingus may have to ask rival airlines to carry passengers whose flights are cancelled as a result of pilots’ planned industrial action, according to the Irish Times.

The carrier predicted on Wednesday that disruption was inevitable as a result of the work-to-rule - which pilots will begin to next Wednesday.

Sources indicated to the Times that Aer Lingus may look to its IAG family group - which includes British Airways - to help shoulder the burden. Others said Aer Lingus was weighing all options including calling on carriers outside IAG to aid it in carrying passengers if it must cancel flights.

Meanwhile, Michael O’Leary, the Ryanair chief executive, suggested earlier this week that his company could add extra flights if Aer Lingus pilots opted to strike.

07.35 - Aer Lingus to cancel flights as pilots work-to-rule

Aer Lingus will have to cancel dozen of flights next week as its pilots stage industrial action, the Irish Independent reports.

If the indefinite work-to-rule being started by pilots next Wednesday continues, then the number of cancellations will only increase.

During the summer, Aer Lingus operates around 1,550 flights a week, or approximately 220 a day.

The carrier is now scrambling to get additional seat capacity in an effort to re-accommodate passengers who will be hit by the action. It is now attempting to hire aircraft on so-called wet leases, where the aircraft are rented with a crew.

The airline is also trying to lease wide-body jets – the type of aircraft usually used on long-haul routes – to re-accommodate more passengers.