Pepper’s interest rate hike, Digicel downgrade and Stripe’s fundraising

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

It’s one thing to know intellectually that interest rates are rising, it’s quite another to see it in black and white. Pepper Finance is passing on all of the latest ECB rate hikes to most of its standard variable rate mortgage accounts. That is likely to see some rates go as high as 8 per cent. Joe Brennan reports.

While questions abound about the future of the commercial property market, Paddy McKillen Jr and Matt Ryan’s Oakmount vehicle is seeking €250 million for five hotels in Cork, Dublin and Galway. Ronald Quinlan has the details.

Stripe is reported to be seeking to raise as much as $4 billion (€3.77 billion), in part to cover a looming tax bill. Goldman Sachs is among the banks offering high rolling clients access to investing in the payments firm.

In his column, John FitzGerald looks at disparities in income across the regions and whether anything could, or should be done to narrow the gap between Dublin and other parts of the country.


With inflation stubbornly high there was good news on construction costs: price growth for commercial construction project tenders slowed to 4 per cent in the second half of 2022, down from a record 7.5 per cent in the first six months of the year. Ian Curran reports.

Staying with construction, some more good news as housing starts, one of strongest indicators of future supply, rose significantly in January, suggesting the impact of construction inflation may be moderating. Eoin has the numbers.

An embarrassing one for the Central Bank and Department of Finance. Both have tightened checks and controls around the release of exchequer funds in the bank to the department after an unauthorised transfer of €738 million was made last October. Joe has the details.

Joe also reports that ratings agency Fitch has downgraded Denis O’Brien’s Digicel. The Irish Times reported earlier this week the company is seeking a grace period on debt due to be repaid next week.

The number of people at work in the State has risen to a new high of 2.57 million, with most sectors of the economy exhibiting strong employment growth over the past year, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show. Eoin has the story.

Eoin also reports that two-thirds of workers in the Republic had some form of private pension coverage, over and above the State pension in the third quarter of last year.

The redevelopment of a fishing port in the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht could facilitate the creation of an offshore wind energy hub on the site with the potential to create 900 jobs in the local area, a new report has found. Ian read the document.

In Agenda, Barry O’Halloran assesses when, or if, consumers can expect electricity prices to fall following from recent slumps in the price of gas.

In World of Work, Olive Keogh highlights how ghosting has moved from dating to the workplace and what damage it can do.

Brianna Parkins meets a man who has made a career bringing longed for Irish goodies such as Tayto crisps to ex-pats in Australia in Wild Geese.

Finally in his Any Other Business column, John Burns looks at who is next for one a high-profile position in Irish public relations, among other stories.

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