Thursday 27 October 2016

What it says in the papers: business pages

Published 18/09/2015 | 06:52

The front page of this morning's Irish Independent business section
The front page of this morning's Irish Independent business section

Here are the business stories you need to know about this morning:

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Irish Independent

*Federal Reserve officials left US interest rates unchanged yesterday, opting to delay an increase amid stubbornly low inflation, an uncertain outlook for global growth and recent financial-market turmoil.

In what amounted to a tactical retreat, the US central bank said an array of global risks and other factors had convinced it to delay what would have been the first hike in nearly a decade.

"Recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in the near-term," the Federal Open Market Committee said.

*Two former Eircom executives, a high-ranking Vodafone veteran, and the previous boss of O2 Ireland, Danuta Gray, are behind a new company that aims to deliver super-fast broadband to rural areas as part of the Government's National Broadband Plan.

Ronan Kneafsey, who was the head of Eircom's business division until 2014, is among those who have co-founded the new company, Gigabit Fibre. A former senior Vodafone UK executive, Alan Harper, is also involved in Gigabit Fibre

Peter Cook, a UK-based telecoms consultant who brought the team together, said the company would deliver up to one gigabit fibre internet to rural homes and businesses by digging fibre channels to premises.

*Shares in insurance firm FBD soared as much as 12pc yesterday, a day after it confirmed that it has secured €70m in backing from Canada's Fairfax Financial.

FBD has been on the hunt for capital to bolster its reserves for the past number of weeks, after it struggled to cope with bigger claims and low investment returns that have damaged its solvency buffer.

FBD's net claims soared to €215.8m in the first half of 2015, from €117.2m in the first half of 2014. Last month, FBD also said that it had set aside an additional €88m to cope with an expected increase in the amount paid out in claims.

The Irish Times

*Finance Minister Michael Noonan wants the Central Bank to review the new caps on mortgages for first-time buyers.

He said there was a shortage of starter homes in Dublin and that builders would say the caps may be too severe.

Mr Noonan said that if the Central Bank decided to maintain the status quo, he would accept that.

*The Government will cut taxes to bring low and middle-income earners' overall rate below 50pc, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Mr Kenny said the current rate of 51pc is penal and bad for the recovery.

He said he would focus on ending the "unfair" tax treatment of the self-employed and small businesses if returned to Government. A USC surcharge of 3pc applies to people who have income from self-employment above €100,000.

*European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker denied having a role in formulating Luxembourg tax rulings that allowed multinationals to cut their tax bills.

Mr Juncker, a former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, said he never gave instructions to Luxembourg tax authorities and had never talked "about tax arrangements the commerce banks might have".

He said he was prioritising corporate tax avoidance in his term as Commission President.

Irish Examiner

*The Government has launched a consultation process on regulating the "cash for gold" trade.

A Department of Justice spokesman said Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald was aware of concerns that the "irregular trade" in second-hand precious metals and stones could fuel crime.

The Department is seeking submissions before October 30.

*Irish insurers will have to set aside more reserves to cope with a surge in payouts, according to the Central Bank.

The average personal injury award in the High Court jumped more than a third last year, according to Courts Service figures.

Central Bank insurance director Sylvia Cronin said the Bank will reveal the results of a review of claims payouts within weeks.

*There's no guarantee competitiveness gained during the crisis will be protected through the economic recovery, according to the South-West's foreign direct investment tsar.

Ray O'Connor - the IDA's South-West regional manager - said the cost of business fell during the downturn, making this country better for investment.

He warned against complacency and said repeating the mistakes of the past would see Ireland "pricing ourselves out of the market".

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