Monday 24 July 2017

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

HERE are the main business stories from this morning's papers:

Irish Independent:

***TDs are standing by their decision to reject billionaire businessman Denis O'Brien's complaint that Dáil privilege was abused when allegations were made about his banking arrangements.

Mr O'Brien is now taking legal action against members of the Dáil's Committee on Procedures and Privilege (CPP). The move has resulted in Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin telling him to "back off".

Mr O'Brien is seeking to haul TDs and Senators before the High Court after the CPP rejected his complaint against Independent TD Catherine Murphy.

***Greece’s reopened stock market closed with heavy losses yesterday following a five-week shutdown brought on by fears the country was about to be dumped from the Eurozone.

Bank shares fell 30pc, and the fall would have been greater if loss-limits had not kicked in to stop investors selling any more.

The main Athens stock index ended down 16.2pc, recovering slightly after plunging nearly 23pc at the open. It was the worst daily performance since at least 1985 when modern records began, including a 15pc fall when Wall Street crashed in 1987.

***Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Group has sold a property development in the Czech Republic for more than €80m.

The proceeds of the sale of the Savarin project, in the centre of the Czech capital, Prague,  will go to Nama.

The project was purchased by local developer the Creystl Group for €83m. Another bidder, Flow East, had been threatening to sue Nama in Ireland over the deal but has yet to take action in that regard.


Irish Times:

***State-owned rail operator Iarnrod Eireann is likely to go bankrupt if the EU follows through on proposed changes to the way that the rail sector is run in the union, the Government has warned.

Iarnrod Eireann’s contract for operating rail services is due to run until the end of 2019. The EU Commission has been calling for changes that would see the rail sector opened up to competitors.

The Coalition has been strongly resisting the move. The Irish Times reports that the Government has privately warned EU officials that Iarnrod Eireann would more than likely face bankruptcy if it lost out in a tender process.

***Tom Hayes, a former star trader at UBS and Citigroup, was sentenced to 14 years in jail by a yesterday after being found guilty of conspiring to rig Libor benchmark interest rates.

His conviction is the first in the global scandal over the manipulation of benchmark interest rates.

Hayes was found guilty of all eight counts of conspiracy to defraud. His conviction came nearly three years after a then-record fine against Barclays sparked a huge controversy about the manipulation of benchmarks.

***A sub-sea observatory is due to be installed in Galway Bay as soon as weather allows, the Irish Times reports.

The observatory will be able to provide ocean energy developers with “real time” data on how their devices are performing.

The project is partially funded by the Science Foundation of Ireland, which contributed €2.2m.


Irish Examiner:

***Austria has become almost fully compliant with new international standards aimed  at preventing tax evasion in a major step against the international practise of the crime.

Many countries are now  sharing information about their citizens and corporations. The club involves 127 countries and territories which the OECD tax forum periodically reviews to see if they are sufficiently robust.

Austria, which has been rated “partially compliant” since July 2013, was yesterday found to have fully followed protocol. Ireland has been deemed “compliant” under the standards for some time.

***New legislation designed to strengthen the rights of mortgage holders and borrowers still gives lenders the power of veto over distressed debt holders, the country’s largest brokers’ group has claimed.

The Personal Insolvency Amendment Bill, which was recently passed  by the Dail, was meant to strengthen protection for consumers when striking deals with lenders over debts that they cannot repay.

However, according to PIBA the law has been gutted so that banks have retained a veto when voting for debt deals with borrowers.

***Businesses in Cork are as confident as they have been at any stage in the past six years, according to the Irish Examiner.

However, the newspaper also reports that businesses  are increasingly unsure of the impact of government policy on stabilising the economy.

The findings are contained in Cork Chamber’s second quarterly economic trends report of 2015, which paints an increasingly positive picture for Cork businesses with increased levels of optimism and employment.

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