Tuesday 20 March 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

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

Irish Independent

***Bust developer Sean Dunne directed plans to renovate and refurbish Ireland’s most expensive house, according to an email uncovered as part of an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Mr Dunne has always denied owning Walford, an Edwardian-era mansion on Dublin’s Shrewsbury Road, and last year insisted he gifted his wife Gayle Killilea €58m to buy the property a decade ago.

However, an email written by the Carlow-born developer shows Mr Dunne personally instructed a project management firm about extensive renovation plans he had in mind for the property.

***The Government is close to finalising proposals for the establishment of a new watchdog which will be tasked with limiting the ability of banks to veto personal insolvency deals.

The watchdog body, which may be set up within the Personal Insolvency Service, is due to be unveiled after Easter as part of the Government’s plans to resolve the mortgage crisis.

Cabinet ministers are adamant that deals with stricken householders are being unnecessarily vetoed by some of the mainstream banks.

***Lynk, Ireland’s answer to the Hailo taxi app, is set to make a massive push into the UK market with €25m in private funding as early as next year.

The app, which was developed by taxi fleet management company Global Taxis, employs more than 170 people at its Dublin base.

It has seen phenomenal growth since its February launch and recently merged with Dublin’s third largest taxi firm, Blue Cabs, to add 200 new drivers.

Irish Times

***Cereal giant Kellogg’s has paid corporation tax of just €7m on sales of more than €7bn directed through Dublin-registered Kellogg Europe Trading (KET) over the last five years, according to an analysis carried out by the Irish Times.

This is due to the fact that KET is often loss-making as it pays large amounts of interest on loans it receives from a Luxembourg-registered cog of the Kellogg’s corporation.

Kellogg’s recently issued a warning to shareholders claiming that an international clampdown on corporate tax avoidance could hit its profit margins.

***Billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien has reportedly joined the board of a new $16bn (€14.6bn) private equity-style fund created to invest in telecoms and technology firms across Europe and the US.

Russian oil and gas billionaire Mikhail Fridman, who according to Forbes is Russia’s second richest man with a $15bn fortune, and a number of partners created the fund, called LetterOne Technology.

Mr O’Brien is the founder of mobile phone network provider Digicel. It has operations in 33 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific and has spent over €4.5bn on assets and infrastructure over the past 13 years.

***Irish renewable energy group NTR is looking at a strategy of utilising the €219m it is to receive following the sale of its last remaining US windfarms which will likely see it return funds to shareholders.

The company has sold its Post Rock and Lost Creek assets,  350 megawatt windfarms in Kansas and Missouri, to US investment company Pattern Energy for $244m (€222m).  

Funds could be returned to shareholders in the form of a share tender which could see some investors end their involvement with the company.

Irish Examiner

***Asking prices for houses outside the capital rose twice as fast as those in Dublin over the first three months of the year, according to the country’s biggest property website.

Asking prices outside Dublin jumped by 6pc between the start of January and the end of March, Daft’s latest house price report found. Dublin, where price growth has outpaced the rest of the country for several years, grew by just 3pc.

Munster experienced its largest three-month increase since 2007. Asking prices in Clare were up 10pc in the three months, while asking prices in Co Waterford rose by 15pc.

***Ireland is unlikely to create a tech company that can ever rival industry giants such as Google or Facebook, Enterprise Ireland software division manager Pat Byrne told the Irish Examiner.

In an interview with the newspaper he said that Irish companies tend to focus more on the business-to-business side of the market whereas industry juggernauts often look at providing services for the public.

He added that the “financial firepower” that was available to companies in areas such as Silicon Valley is “several orders of multiples of what is normally available to Irish companies seeking funding”.

***Some large Irish companies were up to three times over their allocated amount for carbon emissions, according to figures obtained by the Irish Examiner.

The statistics, released by the european Commission, show that almost all of the country’s largest carbon emitters, those who emit more than 10,000 tonnes a year, went over their free allocation of carbon units last year.

Ryanair was found to be the largest producer of greenhouse gasses, emitting 6.6m tonnes last year, while Nutricia Infant Nutrition was three and a half times over its allocation.

Online Editors

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