Friday 28 October 2016

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 03/09/2015 | 07:00

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

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Irish Independent:

***Former Irish Nationwide boss Michael Fingleton, the man with a €27.6m pension pot, feels he was “wronged” and “misunderstood”.

Mr Fingleton, whose building society required a €5.4bn bailout by the Irish taxpayer, does not regret any of his decisions as the building society’s CEO and very much regrets he is “continuing to pay the price personally” for the collapse of the financial system.

It was an absolute shock to him and a bitter disappointment that Irish Nationwide had succumbed to a cataclysmic crisis, he told the Banking Inquiry.

***The tax take was more than half a billion euro better than expected last month, with large gains recorded in income tax, VAT and corporation tax.

The taxman has collected about €1.4bn more than forecast so far this year, meaning the take for the entire year could end up close to €2bn healthier than thought in last October’s Budget.

Exchequer returns for August show that the fall in unemployment and rising consumer demand are continuing to help boost the State’s coffers.

***Betfair shareholders have been urged by an influential investor advisory body not to approve chief executive Breon Corcoran’s bumper £11.6m (€15.7m) pay packet at the company's annual general meeting next week.

The embarrassing rebuke comes as Betfair and Paddy Power plot a merger to create the world's biggest online gambling group. Mr Corcoran, inset – a former Paddy Power executive – will lead the combined group.

Advisory group PIRC said Mr Corcoran’s near £1m bonus at Betfair is excessive, as is his total remuneration.

Irish Times:

***Some multinational companies have been improperly claiming tax credits for research and development in an effort to reduce their corporation tax bill, the Irish Times reports.

Under a Government scheme companies can claim back up to 25pc of the amount they spend on R&D, however audits by Revenue have found that some companies are exaggerating the amount they spend on research.

Companies repaid a record €21m in back taxes following over 200 audits in 2013.

***Expectations that the ECB is to unveil measures aimed at stimulating the Eurozone helped to boost European stocks yesterday, the Irish Times reports.

The governing council of the bank is to meet today for the first time since shares in Europe and internationally have fallen on the back of fears of the strength of the Chinese economy.

ECB president Mario Draghi is expected to announce that the organisation’s quantitative easing programme, which has pumped billions of euros into the Eurozone, is to be extended.

***The number of people in mortgage arrears continued to fall in the second quarter of the year according to new figures from the Central Bank.

Just over 98,000 mortgage accounts were in arrears in the three months to the end of June, a drop of 6,556 accounts compared to the previous quarter.

However the number of accounts in arrears of two years or more continued to rise, with just over 38,000 residential mortgage accounts in long term arrears at the end of the quarter.

Irish Examiner:

***Consumer confidence rose last month but is still some way off of strong optimism, the Irish Examiner reports.

According to the KBC/Economic and Social Research Institute index consumer confidence increased slightly in August and went above the 100 point mark, only the third time in it has done so in the past decade.

The report’s author said that consumers still remain cautious about household finances and may also be concerned about developments in the global economy.

***The National Concert Hall is aiming to freshen up its image with a rebranding excercise.

The Dublin venue is seeking tenders from parties to undertake a review and develop a new brand for the national venue.

Last year, sell-out shows by Sinead O’Connor, the Buena Vista Social Club and The Gloaming contributed to the NCH recording its biggest crowds since 2009. Ticket sales rose by 2.85pc to €7m.

***Greece will miss its revenue target from asset sales this year due to delays in a €1.2bn airport deal, the head of its privatisation agency said yesterday, in a setback to efforts to meet the terms of its new bailout.

As part of its commitments under the €86bn rescue loan from international creditors, Greece aims to raise €1.4bn from privatisations this year.

It has a patchy record of meeting such targets, and Stergios Pitsiorlas of the country’s privatisation agency HRADF said reaching the 2015 figure was also now “unfeasible”.

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