Monday 22 January 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages newsdesk

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

Irish Independent:

***Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan conceded he is an “ideas man not an implementation man” in a personal video message to staff announcing his decision to retire before the end of the year.

Mr Honohan, who announced his shock retirement in April, admitted he knows more about economic policy than he does about the Central Bank’s management and reward structures.

In the video, which was released under the Freedom of Information Act, Mr Honohan said he was reluctant to say the financial crisis is over, but said the “storm has passed”.

***The debt write-off on the controversial Siteserv deal was €9m more than previously suggested, according to missing files discovered by the Department of Finance.

It was previously stated that the Irish Bank Resolution Company (IBRC) sold Siteserv to a company owned by businessman Denis O’Brein at a write-down of €110m.

However, the minutes of an IBRC board meeting on March 15, 2012 state that the write-off was €119m.

***Four years after his family empire crumbled, well-known hotelier Michael Lynch is bouncing back into the trade with the backing of aviation entrepreneur Domhnal Slattery.

The Irish Independent has learned that Mr Slattery has stumped up €100,000 in funding under an employment and investment incentive scheme for a new vehicle established by Mr Lynch.

It’s thought it will help bankroll the operation of the Kilkee Bay Hotel in Co Clare, where Mr Lynch is understood to have taken over the lease.

***The Coalition has decided to drop the Universal Social Charge instead of cutting the higher rate of income tax  in the upcoming budget, the Irish Times reports.

Both Taoiseach Eda Kenny and Tanaiste Joan Burton confirmed the move in separate speeches made yesterday.

Last year’s budget had reduced the total tax rate for middle  income earners from 52pc to 51pc. Mr Kenny pledged that the marginal tax rate will now drop below 50pc with the cutting of USC.

***Greece will bundle its four debt payments to the International Monetary Fund due this month into a single payment now due on June 30, the IMF said yesterday.

“The Greek authorities have informed the Fund today that they plan to bundle the country’s four June payments into one, which is now due on June 30,” the global lender’s chief spokesman, Gerry Rice, said in a statement.

The IMF said that under a decision taken in the late-1970s, its member nations can ask to bundle multiple principal payments into one payment to address the administrative difficulty of making multiple payments in a short period.

***State owned public transport company CIE received half a billion euros in public funding last year, the Irish Times reports.

The company’s annual report shows that this amount was up by 23pc compared to the year before, when the Government pumped about €408m into the state-owned firm.

The group, which is the parent company of Bus Eireann Irish Rail and Dublin Bus, earned a surplus of just under €10m in 2014 compared to the €11.6m it lost in 2013.

Irish Examiner:

***Pay increases could weaken Ireland’s competitiveness and damage the economic recovery, the President of Cork Chamber of Commerce has warned.

The Irish Examiner reports that speaking yesterday at the Chamber’s ‘Leadership in Action’ forum, Barrie O’Connell said that the private sector would not be able to follow the public sector in wage increases. Public sector unions recently agreed a deal that will see workers take home and extra €2,000 a year.

Mr O’Connell said: “It is critical that the gains in competitiveness that we’ve achieved in recent years with a lot of pain in the public and private sector are not compromised.”

***The Central bank has handed out fines of more than €27m to more than 50 financial institutions since 2011, the Irish Examiner reports.

The largest fine that the organisation has handed out was in 2014 €3.5m to Ulster Bank for €3.5m following a huge IT failure two years previously.

Eight fines worth over €1m have been given out. The previous record fine was given out to the Irish division of Combined Insurance Company of Europe, which had to pay €3.35m for 28 breaches of the Consumer Protection Code.

***Debt experts have warned that a slowdown in mortgage arrears figures has failed to capture the scale of the home debt crisis.

Close to 38,000 residential mortgage accounts are now more than two years behind on their repayments.

This represents close to one in 20 of all mortgages, with arrears of €52,400 on average.

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