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What it says in the papers: business pages


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

Irish Independent:

***Thousands of families are being unexpectedly hit with huge inheritance tax bills this year as rising property prices push them over exemption limits.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan is to examine the issue around the inheritance tax trap, which is forcing many to sell their parents’ homes in order to settle their tax bills with the Revenue Commissioners.

The tax rate for inheritance sky-rocketed during the recession, while the threshold for tax-free inheritance was halved. However, with property prices rising, ordinary families are getting hit by a tax only intended to target those in receipt of exceptionally large inheritances.

***Independent News & Media (INM) has all but ruled out buying TV3, which has been put up for sale by its UK venture capital owner, Doughty Hanson.

A spokesman for INM, which owns titles including the ‘Irish Independent’, said that while the media group is in a position to size up acquisitions, any discussions with TV3 are “highly unlikely”.

INM chairman Leslie Buckley said after the company’s annual general meeting last week that the company is now in a position to invest in acquisitions.

***Aer Lingus has called a ceasefire with the European Commission in a legal battle regarding the awarding of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow Airport.

Next month, the European Court of Justice was due to hear a case that was being taken by the airline against the Commission.

But with Aer Lingus now a subject of a €1.4bn takeover offer from IAG, the legal action against the Commission has effectively been suspended.

Irish Times:

***Finance Minister Michael Noonan is to agree to change the terms of reference for the commission of investigation into the Irish Banking Resolution Corporation (IBRC) when he meets senior Opposition figures tonight, according to the Irish Times.

However, the Minister is set to stand firm on certain issues where the Opposition had looked for concessions, such as investigating write downs worth less than €10m and examining the role of the Department of Finance.

The newspaper reports that Mr Noonan will separately meet with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and Independent TD Catherine Murphy.

***The Government is to establish and appoint members to a new advisory council on climate change within the week, according to the Irish Times.

The primary purpose of the council, which is set to be chaired by economist John Fitzgerald, formerly of the Economic and Social Research Institute, is to be assessing the Government’s progress in its cutting of carbon emissions.

The ten council board will be made up of six independent representatives and four members from State and State-funded institutions.

***Up to 350 new jobs are to be created during the construction of a new €180m electricity generating plant in Mayo.

Work is to begin immediately on the new plant, which is being built by US-backed Mayo Renewable Power, and when fully operational it will employ 30 staff.

An additional 100 workers will be employed in providing ongoing back-up and ancillary services. The project will generate enough electricity to power around 68,000 homes. It is expected to be operating commercially in 2017.

Irish Examiner:

***The proposed Cork event centre has cleared a major hurdle as the EU has given the go-ahead for €20m of public investment into the project, according to the Irish Examiner.

The newspaper reports that there were fears that EU rules on state aid could have stalled or jeopardised the delivery of the project.

However, Pat Ledwidge, the city’s head of planning who has a key role in Cork City Council’s involvement in the project, has confirmed that state funding issues are no longer a concern.

***The European Union's exasperation with Greece burst into the open yesterday when its chief executive rebuked leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and warned that time was running out to conclude a debt deal to avert a damaging Greek default.

In unusually sharp terms, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker accused Tsipras of distorting proposals by international creditors for a cash-for-reform agreement and of dragging his feet in offering an alternative.

He urged Athens to put its own ideas on the table swiftly to enable talks to resume on the sidelines of an EU-Latin America summit on Wednesday in Brussels.

***Business group ISME has criticised what it says are delays in bank lending decisions that are hindering the ability of firms to take advantage of the economic upturn.

In its latest quarterly ‘Bank Watch’ survey, ISME said that while demand for bank lending has hit its highest level in eight years, the delays in bank decisions have lengthened. causing problems for small and medium-sized firms that are ready to expand and develop their businesses.

ISME said that 29pc of applications made by businesses for funding were outstanding during the survey period, compared to 2pc in the previous quarter.

Online Editors