Wednesday 13 December 2017

The Punt: Manchester United wears bad news well

Former Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson. PA
Former Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson. PA

MANCHESTER United may still be feeling the effects of the departure of Alex Ferguson and reeling from its worst season in more than two decades. But that bleak performance isn't stopping some of the world's top sporting companies from courting the club to be in with a chance of getting their name on the famous red shirt.

'The Wall Street Journal' has been reporting that the football club may be on the cusp of the biggest sponsorship deal in soccer with the scramble to become the club's clothing sponsor continuing.

The US financial paper said United believes it can strike a deal worth about $600m (over the next 10 years). The current deal with Nike is valued at about $510m for 13 years.

It seems t the club's poor perfor-mance on the pitch is only a heartache for the fans.

Many vices prove positive

THE Punt sees Intel has named another three Irish people as vice-presidents at the chip maker, bringing the total number of Irish vice presidents to seven.

The new head honchos are Philip Moynagh, who led the Leixlip-based team that designed Intel's new Quark chip; Margaret Burgraff who becomes vice president of the mobile and communications group; and Arizona-based Joe McDonnell, who becomes vice president of the technology and manufacturing group.

While we congratulated all three on their new jobs, we particularly like Moynagh's title: vice president of the internet of things group. Other Irish citizens to hold the relatively rare title of vice president among Intel's 100,000-plus employees include Eamonn Sinnott, general manager in Ireland; Ann Kelleher, a GM of manufacturing in New Mexico; Rory McInerney in Santa Clara, and Martin Curley at Intel Labs.

Straddling tax avoidance

THE Punt finds that the courts move exceedingly slowly – but the odd trial piques our interest. One trial that is sure to throw some light on an interesting area of the law will be heard by the Supreme Court some time in the new year.

The case has been taken by the Revenue Commissioners, which wants to tackle "aggressive" tax-avoidance schemes, and has implications for several other wealthy individuals who used a device devised by London-based merchant bank Schroders.

This particular case deals with transactions involving Irish bonds and foreign exchange instruments known as "straddles".

It is an interesting name that conjures up all sorts of images but this particular straddle has saved at least one lucky taxpayer €5.12m in capital gains tax as well as a €1.12m surcharge.

One to watch, we suspect.

IDA poaches firm's HR boss

PCH International has lost one of its top brass to the IDA.

Head of global talent acquisition Frank Scott-Lennon is shifting from the product development and supply chain company to take up the post of programme manager of the IDA's new Winning Abroad initiative.

The three-year investment programme is designed to market Ireland overseas to companies that haven't yet invested here.

The IDA has a good story to tell, with more people employed in multinational companies here attracted by the IDA than ever before.

The net increase in employment last year was 7,071 – the largest jump in more than a decade, although 6,296 jobs were also lost during the year. It was a strong result for chief Barry O'Leary, who steps down later in the year. He'll be hoping Mr Scott-Lennon will be able to keep those strong results coming.

Irish Independent

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