Tuesday 6 December 2016

The Punt: Did IDA staff hit the roof?

Published 01/06/2016 | 02:30

Jameson owner Pernod Ricard owns the rights to the brand through a joint venture with the Cuban government that dates from 1993.
Jameson owner Pernod Ricard owns the rights to the brand through a joint venture with the Cuban government that dates from 1993.

Officials at the IDA were apparently left scratching their heads yesterday at news that a bank has opted to avoid setting up operations in Ireland because of the housing crisis.

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In the course of a longer interview, Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland president Carol Pollard told Morning Ireland that a bank has decided against relocating to Dublin due to lack of housing here for potential staff.

The comments prompted The Punt to make a few calls in an effort to confirm the identity of the bank.

Alas we came up dry.

The IDA, whose job it is to bring in foreign direct investment, told us it wasn't aware of a specific case of a bank not investing here directly as a result of the high cost of housing, though it tells us it is an issue that's coming up with potential new clients.

Carol Pollard told us she'd heard the information, though not the name of the bank, from a senior figure at a Dublin architecture practice, which had missed out on a bit of business as a result.

Whatever the specifics, our inability to put roofs over the heads of workers has to be a threat to the economy.

It's bound to be a concern for any business looking to base staff in Dublin and increasingly also Cork and other centres where shortages are starting to bite.

It also makes a mockery of the Government's policy of attracting home workers who fled during the crash.

Quiet day on the Dublin market

The Irish Stock Exchange was under severe pressure a few years ago, and it is fair to say a number of commentators were questioning the wisdom of retaining an independent exchange in Dublin.

At one point, with the banks decimated and numerous companies upping sticks to move their primary listing to London, the future of Anglesey Street was an open question.

Fast forward to today and the ISE is a thriving, if small, exchange best known for its debt listings.

The ISE likes to make out how it can stand on its own two feet and doesn't need to be part of a much larger operation, so The Punt was surprised that not a single RNS announcement came out of the ISE on Monday.

The quiet day on the regulatory news service, where companies put out relevant statements and share transactions, was because markets were closed in the US and UK. It's not a bad thing at all, but the Irish Stock Exchange is perhaps not as independent as it thinks.

Pernod Ricard's row in Havana

The reopening of Cuba to US trade is already throwing up some interesting issues that will probably keep the lawyers busy for some time to come..

The latest dispute involves one of Cuba's best known exports apart from cigars: rum.

The dispute centres on who controls the Havana Club brand name, and the right to use it in the United States.

Jameson owner Pernod Ricard owns the rights to the brand through a joint venture with the Cuban government that dates from 1993.

However Bacardi claims the right to use the name in the US. The company has sold Puerto Rican rum under that name in the States since 1995.

Bacardi claims it bought the brand from Havana Club's original owners - the Arechabalas family. They fled Cuba along with the Bacardi family after the communist takeover in 1960.

The row is one that may have big consequences for the future of both firms.

The US accounts for about 40pc of the global rum market so the stakes are high.

The Punt is partial to a rum and mixer, inset, every so often so we'll be watching the result of this fight with interest.

Hopefully our boss will decide to send us to Cuba to follow up on this story...

Irish Independent

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