Business Irish

Tuesday 20 February 2018

The Punt: 'No chance of Brexit' - City investor

London's Canary Wharf business, financial and shopping district
London's Canary Wharf business, financial and shopping district

Investors are generally spooked by the idea of uncertainty. Even though an element of uncertainty lies at the heart of every gamble, investors aren't fans.

But one investor is certain about what many will argue is a major period of flux for the UK.

Richard Buxton, one of the so-called City's best known investors, has swept away any suggestions that Britain will leave the EU.

There's "no way" it's going to happen, he has predicted.

"It's that simple," the chief executive and head of equities at Old Mutual Global Investors claimed.

"As in the Scottish referendum, the markets are much smarter than the pollsters. Watch the bookies, not the pollsters."

Buxton's comments on the EU were echoed by Mark Wood, the former boss of Prudential, who suggested that the depth of the UK's links to the Continent made the idea of complete withdrawal almost meaningless.

So that's it then. Decision made. What's all the fuss about?

Kellys ready for Dublin takeoff

Deirdre Kelly, the wife of AerCap boss Aengus Kelly, pictured below, has got an early Christmas present.

Dublin City Council has just approved her planning application for a major revamp of a property on the capital's exclusive Shrewsbury Road.

The house - Mugnano - was sold to the Kellys this year for a whopping €4.8m. It was previous owned by Larry O'Mahoney, the former business partner of Priory Hall developer Tom McFeely. It had been substantially renovated in 2009.

The application by Deirdre Kelly was for the part demolition of the existing 2,800 sq ft property at 7 Shrewsbury Road, and the construction of a new three-storey over-basement extension to the side and another extension to the rear.

The new property will extend over nearly 10,000 sq ft, and include a cinema, wine cellar and gym.

The new master bedroom, at 750 sq ft, would be bigger than half the size of a typical three-bed semi.

A number of locals weren't impressed with the plans, but the council has deemed them appropriate for the site.

Kathy Smurfit, the wife of Michael Smurfit Jnr, said she grew up at 5 Shewsbury Road, where her parents still live.

Ms Smurfit, who lives on the equally expensive Ailesbury Road, claimed the new development would block sunlight to her parents' home.

"As children, we thoroughly enjoyed the southwest facing aspect of the garden," she lamented.

Greek goose and German gander

Sauce for the Greek goose is not necessarily sauce for the German gander.

Germany's powerful and outspoken finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that it was not in Athens' interests to question the involvement of the IMF in its bailout programme.

The Greek leader had said the rescue fund was not playing a constructive role in talks that have dragged on since summer.

Tsipras is a long-time critic of the Troika, even if his wings are now somewhat clipped, and says the IMF is making unrealistic reform demands on Greece.

At a meeting in Brussels Schaeuble more or less told Greece to suck it up and accept the latest cross-border interference.

In fairness that's been the German line for a while.

Mind you, at the same session in Brussels Herr Schaeuble threatened to go to court to block European Central Bank (ECB) plans for a savings guarantee scheme which Germany opposes.

He accused the ECB of straying beyond its remit and interfering in the political sphere.

Funny, the Punt doesn't remember that being an issue previously.

Irish Independent

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