Friday 24 November 2017

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

* The new head of the Central Bank says he is powerless to force banks to cut variable rate mortgages.

But Central Bank Governor Prof Philip Lane was told at a Dáil committee he needed to tackle the banks' "unjustifiable" rates, as ECB interest rate reductions are not being passed on to homeowners.

Prof Lane said he understood it appeared unfair, but interfering between the banks and customers was "not really within our power".

* The EU's Court of Auditors has come out very strongly against the EU Commission's handling of Ireland's bailout, particularly the way the EU Commission backed - without reservation - the ECB's insistence that Ireland pay all the senior bondholders of the banks.

It also, rightly, concludes that the great Irish economic crash was predictable and preventable and yet the EU Commission - rammed to the rafters as it is with well-paid experts and economists - didn't see the crisis coming.

The report states the obvious, yet the obvious should be stated again: the bailouts and all the other emergency measures taken were the consequence and not the cause of the crisis.

* A huge £2bn (€2.63bn) windfarm being developed in the UK by Irish firm Mainstream Renewable Power faces an uncertain future if a judicial review is not completed quickly.

The Dublin-based company announced yesterday that it is in exclusive talks with a consortium led by US power company InterGen for the sale of the 450 megawatt Neart Na Gaoithe windfarm that is to be located off the east coast of Scotland. InterGen has its European headquarters in Edinburgh.

The consortium also includes Siemens Project Ventures, The Marguerite Fund and Infrared Capital. Mainstream did not put a price on how much it may sell the project for. Although construction has not yet started, the project has got planning permission and is expected to be fully commissioned and generating electricity by 2020.

The Irish Times

* Credit Suisse will open a trading floor in Dublin later today that will employ some 100 new staff for the firm's prime Europe-based services business.

The company says that the move to Ireland is not linked with fears of a potential Brexit.

The Dublin operation will offer prime brokerage, prime financing and securities lending and will handle the trading, capital and risk management for the business.

* Central Bank governor, Philip Lane, has suggested that solid car repayment history or rent repayment history could be used when applying for a mortgage.

The news comes in the midst of the high variable rate mortgage controversy.

Lane has also pledged efforts to examine the mortgage-switching landscape in the country and will look to make the process easier for homeowners.

* The Irish Central Bank has predicted the domestic recovery to continue this year and expects the economy to grow by 4.8pc.

External risks outside of Ireland has forced the bank to forecast slower growth in 2017.

In the bank's forecasts it outlined the falling of stock prices so far this year and turbulence in the oil markets as external risks.

Irish Examiner

* Major food group, Greencore, has warned that a British exit from the EU would damage the food sector.

The Brexit has been long discussed and could go to a public referendum in the early months of this year.

Greencore CEO, Patrick Coveney, said that the politics of a Brexit are 'very competitive' and 'divisive'.

* UK government ministers are facing criticisms after a tax settlement, with Internet search giant, Google, was reached.

The UK Labour Party's finance spokesperson, John McDonnell, wrote to George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, asking whether or not he had personally signed off on the settlement.

In his letter Mr McDonnell wrote that 'when times are tough it is more important than ever that everyone pays, and is seen to pay, their fair share'.

* No staff will be affected as Dixons Carphone shuts some of its Irish stores. The firm said that it would relocate all its staff to nearby superstores as it looks to merge its three main brands.

The firm will look to merge PC World, Currys, and Carphone Warehouse over the next year and a half.

The move will see Dixons Carphone reduce its number of stores it has from 402 down to 323.

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