Tuesday 16 January 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

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

Irish Independent

***Tenants are to be offered greater certainty with Continental-style leases of up to 20 years as part of a radical shake-up of the rental market.

A new Government policy document also considers significant tax reliefs for landlords, as well as an end to the practice of ejecting tenants when a property is being sold.

The report, by the National Economic and Social Council, represents the outline of a new national policy for the private rental sector. It is now being put to Government. An estimated one-in-five households in Ireland (305,000) are renting and the report acknowledges that a third of people are unlikely to be able to purchase a home in the future.

***New mortgages arrears cases at KBC Ireland have slowed “to a trickle”, the bank’s chief executive said yesterday.

KBC Bank’s Irish arm made a profit after tax of more than €16m or the first three months of the year, the first profits at the Belgian-owned lender since 2010.

KBC Ireland recorded an operating profit of €26.1m before tax and impairment costs for the first quarter of 2015 and a profit of €16.2m after tax.

Wim Verbraeken, who took over as head of KBC Ireland in 2013, said he was “very happy with the result”.

***The Government is expected to hold a special Cabinet meeting today to sign off on a mortgage-arrears package.

In what amounts to a major U-turn, ministers are due to agree to a change that will see banks effectively losing their veto over insolvency deals.

The veto has proved hugely controversial since it emerged as a key part of the Personal Insolvency Act.

It means that banks can use their votes in a creditors’ meeting to throw out personal insolvency proposals, which involve writing-off mortgage debts for stricken families.

Irish Times

***Facebook Ireland’s managing director is to leave the company in the summer to join Swedish online audio distribution platform Soundcloud.

The Irish Times reports that Sonia Flynn, who has been in charge of Facebook’s Irish operations since 2011, is to take up the new role of international vice president at Soundcloud. Gareth Lambe, currently sales, planning and operations director at Facebook EMEA, will take up Ms Flynn’s position.

In a statement Ms Flynn said: “The past six years at Facebook’s international headquarters have been both exciting and professionally challenging. There have been many highlights in that time as we grew from a small group to what is now an incredibly talented team of more than 500 people in Dublin, responsible for areas such as safety and community operations, sales and engineering.”

***AIB has obtained a conditional court order giving the bank a charge over €2.7m worth of shares held by, or on behalf of, businessman Tony O’Reilly in the Dromoland Castle holding company.

The order is aimed at giving the bank priority over Mr O’Reilly’s other creditors in relation to the shares in AIB’s continuing efforts to recover a €22.6m judgment entered against him last June.

Inclusive of interest, and following the sale of certain assets, his total indebtedness to AIB stands at €15.2m.

***High earners are set to contribute more to the State’s overall tax take after the implementation of measures introduced in the last Budget, according to the Revenue Commissioners.

Data from the organisation estimates that the share of income tax and universal social charge paid by those earning over €200,000 will rise to 21pc compared to 19pc beforehand, while those earning more than €100,000  will see the amount they pay in taxes increase from 42pc to 44pc.

The estimates, released to Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes, also suggest that the taxes paid by people on less than €50,000 will decline from 21pc to 20pc.

Irish Examiner:

***Up to 750 film industry jobs could be created if plans to purchase and convert a Limerick plant formerly owned by computer giant Dell into an international film studio go ahead.

The Irish Examiner reports that Innovate limerick, a company owned by Limerick City and County Council, is in advanced negotiations to acquire the 340,000 square foot building, which it would then lease out to a film studio company.

The purchase of the site is scheduled for a decision at a board meeting of Innovate Limerick tomorrow.

***Irish food giant Glanbia saw its revenue increase by 10.5pc in the first three months of the year and is now projecting annual earnings per share of roughly 20pc.

This was mainly due to the effect of a strong US dollar against the euro, as when currency translations were removed wholly owned revenue fell by 3.6pc compared to the same period in 2014.

The result was achieved on back of lower market prices for US cheese and dairy ingredients. Analysts said that the results were solid in the main, with Davy stockbrokers stating that it was leaving its full year earnings per share forecast of 73.5c unchanged.

***Dublin-based building materials firm Grafton Group is looking to expand its presence in Europe.

Chairman Michael Chadwick said in the company’s annual report that part of Grafton’s growth strategy will be to look at extending its operations in Western European areas “that offer attractive consolidation opportunities”.

“The group is at an advanced stage in a review of specific markets that fit with its strategic priorities and which may provide attractive market entry points at the current stage of the economic cycle,” he said.

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