Axa takes €270m in Irish dividends and Aviva in stadium talks

The best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

French insurer Axa has taken €270 million in dividends from its Irish business over the past four years, writes Joe Brennan. It comes as the Irish unit reported a threefold rise in profit at the Irish business last year.

Another insurer, Aviva, is in exclusive talks with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) about renewing its naming rights sponsorship for the Aviva Stadium in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Ciarán Hancock writes that the group’s most recent five-year deal, which expires next year, is worth about €4 million a year.

As the Government convenes its annual National Economic Dialogue in Dublin Castle this morning as part of the pre-budget process, Ibec has urged it to avoid a giveaway budget before the election, saying a “strategic” long-term focus is required. Eoin Burke-Kennedy and Martin Wall will report through the day from the event.

Further afield, Dublin-based Mainstream Renewable Power has been awarded a permit to assess developing a 500 megawatt (MW) onshore wind farm in Australia with a local partner. If successful, the plan for a site west of Sydney would be the biggest the Irish company has undertaken and would deliver power for up to 300,000 homes.


Bank of Ireland plans to appoint the next chief executive of Davy to its top executive committee and have the head of its life assurance business, New Ireland, report to them under a structure that will make the firm central to its wealth business, according to sources. Joe Brennan has the details.

More than one in three people say either they or their family have been impacted by ongoing shortages of certain medicines over the past year. And tolerance with the Government is slipping, with 60 per cent of those surveyed saying it needs to improve its management of the crisis.

Speaking of things not working, ESG is falling on hard times. What started out as a noble ambition to incentivise business and signal the “good companies” to investors has been so watered down that it is now little more than corporate tokenism, Eoin Burke-Kennedy argues in his column.

And in our weekly opinion slot, Delta Capital’ Ronan Brennan cautions that falling ECB interest rates may not be enough to prevent a spike in mortgage arrears later this year. His warning comes as the 70,000 who have come off fixed rates over the past year – roughly one in 10 of residential mortgage customers – juggle with sharply increase monthly payments.

In Me & My Money, Kilsaran’s head of innovation and sustainability Ken Mulkerrins found that dicing with end-stage heart failure in his thirties put the issue of money in context.

And Proinsias O’Mahony is predictably scathing about thze marriage of US presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy jnr and meme stock Gamestop. Promising to “punish predatory short selling” and “enact aggressive Wall Street reforms” if elected president might sound good to some, the notion of heroic retail investors batting against a rigged market is damaging, zhe writes.

Finally, Pilita Clark catches up on a workplace trend just as it fades away – the use of email signoffs to virtue signal or advertise. Her ignorance, and mine, shows how deliciously pointless the whole thing was. However, others have found more practical uses for their signoffs.

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