Wednesday 17 January 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

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

Irish Independent

* Apple chief executive Tim Cook had a private meeting with the European Union's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager as EU regulators close in on a final decision into the iPhone-maker's tax deals in Ireland.

The Brussels meeting came on the same day as Taoiseach Enda Kenny described as "false and baseless" claims that Ireland is a tax haven for the company. Apple and the European Commission both confirmed that the talks took place but didn't elaborate on what was discussed.

Ireland may eventually be forced to recoup billions of euros in unpaid taxes from Apple. The probe is the most high profile investigation in an EU crackdown on tax deals between countries and multinationals that's also embroiled companies including Starbucks and a unit of car maker Fiat Chrysler in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

* Finance Minister Michael Noonan has joined European colleagues in backing Christine Lagarde for a second term as head of the International Monetary Fund.

He described her as a capable leader who had shown a "helpful" understanding of Ireland's position.

The Washington-based Fund said it plans an open selection process for its top job and began accepting nominations yesterday, even though Ms Lagarde has said she is open to another term leading the crisis lender. Ms Lagarde's initial five-year term as managing director expires on July 5, and IMF executive board member Aleksei Mozhin said he expects the board to complete its selection process by early March. There are no obvious challengers to the former French Finance Minister.

* There is no end in sight for the spike in office rents, with levels in Dublin likely to top €65 per sq ft before the end of this year.

Broker JLL has become the latest big player in the commercial market to contend that office rents for the top areas of Dublin will keep rising this year, as demand continues to outstrip supply in the capital.

In its outlook for 2016, JLL believes that in Dublin city centre, headline office rents are set to rise €65 per sq ft. That figure is just below the all-time high of €70 per sq ft set back during the Celtic Tiger years and matches research throughout the Dublin office market.

The Irish Times

* European Central Bank chief, Mario Draghi, has opened the door to further stimulus, triggering a rebound in oil prices and global stocks.

Mr Draghi agreed to a policy review in March where the bank will take stock of the situation at its next rate-setting meeting.

Speaking in Davos on Thursday Mr Draghi cited new heightened uncertainty around emerging economies and an increase in downside risks as reasons for the review.

* Ireland's biggest retail complex, the Blanchardstown Centre, will be put up for sale next month by Green Property Group for a fee believed to be in the region of €1bn.

The centre is likely to attract the attention of large international investment groups and big pension funds.

JLL and Eastdil Secured will joint market the centre with the first round of bids expected to come in March.

* Management consulting company, Accenture, is to create 250 new jobs in addition to the 200 jobs the firm had announced back in September.

Accenture is looking for range of talent as it begins to invest €25m into a centre for innovation.

The announcement will bring the company's headcount up to in excess of 2,200 by August of this year.

Irish Examiner

* A new report, conducted by the European Commission, could force Ireland to change its current tax system as it aims to bring the country in line with agreements made in the OECD and G20.

The new report will analyse Ireland's corporate tax scheme and determine whether or not the country facilitates tax dodging.

The new rules would see profits taxed on where they are generated rather than where they are headquartered, incurring massive changes to companies that have its European headquarters in Ireland.

* Employee negligence is the biggest risk to data breaches according to a new survey of the country's data protection professionals.

The survey revealed that over 70pc of cyber attacks were caused by employee negligence.

External attackers were the second biggest threat to a breach, while user devices containing sensitive material came in third.

* Irish Life has been given the go-ahead to proceed in building its six-storey €20m office block on St Stephen's Green after an appeal to An Bord Pleanála was withdrawn.

The appeal was originally made by international legal firm, Maples and Calder, however its has since withdrawn its appeal of Dublin City Council's decision to give the plan the green light.

The plan will see Irish Life demolish its existing office block at Hainault House.

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