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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:

***Finance Minister Michael Noonan adopted a hardline stance on the European Central Bank giving emergency funding to keep the Greek banks afloat.

Mr Noonan sided with Germany in warning the provision of day-to-day emergency ECB lending to Greece cannot continue indefinitely.

The Finance Minister was among the toughest contributors in talks on the EU’s response to the Greek crisis.

***Tens of thousands of families are set to avail of “hassle-free loans” of up to €1,000 as the Government moves to break the dependence on moneylenders.

The plan, being spearheaded by the Department of Social Protection, will see loans being approved within an hour with just minor credit checks.

Some 40,000 loans are to be rolled out per annum by the country’s post offices and credit unions in a major effort to provide an alternative to moneylenders. Interest rates of up to 12pc will be applied on the loans – compared to rates of up to 188pc applied by private firms.

***Irish-listed oil explorer Tullow Oil said that it is “happy” with a settlement that will see it pay out $250m (€220m) to the Ugandan government and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

Tullow had initially been ordered to pay CGT of $407m on the farm down sale of three oil blocks in the Lake Albert basin in Uganda. The dispute has now been settled out of court, with Tullow agreeing to pay  $108m to be paid in three equal instalments of $36m less $142m already paid when it launched an appeal against the initial ruling.

A spokesman for the company also said that the ruling is a “positive development” for its interest in the potentially lucrative Lake Albert oil venture, in which the firm is due to make an investment decision on by the end of next year.

Irish Times:

***The funding for the controversial Poolbeg incinerator project is coming from a company in Luxembourg with a similar structure to those that featured in the recent Luxleaks controversy, the Irish Times reports.

According to the newspaper the company, Dublin First WTE, has entered into a stakeholder agreement with Dublin Waste to Energy (Holdings) for €75m and is charging an interest rate of 13.5pc on the loan. The arrangement means that the profits recorded in Ireland by Dublin Waste to Energy (Holdings) will be reduced by the cost of servicing the loan.

Covanta is due to spend about €500m developing the incinerator, with the four Dublin loal authorities having already spent over €100m on the project.

***The country’s largest insurer of homes and cars said it plans to appeal a huge award won by its former chief executive in an employment tribunal.

Philip Smith, who was chief executive of RSA, has been awarded €1.25m by an Employment Appeals Tribunal.

An RSA spokesperson said it was extremely disappointed by the tribunal’s decision and “fundamentally disagrees with it”, and plans to appeal it.

***Northern Ireland’s biggest employer Moy Park has been sold for $1.5bn (€1.36bn) to Brazilian food group JBS.

The UK’s biggest poultry producer, which has its headquarters in Craigavon and employs 8,000 people in Northern Ireland, has been owned by another Brazilian-based company, Marfrig Group, since 2008.

The purchase came as a shock as rumours have abounded over the last 12 months that Marfrig would float Moy Park on the London Stock Exchange.

Irish Examiner:

***The first oil drilling venture in Irish waters in two years looks set to be imminent as drilling is primed to begin at one of Lansdowne Oil & Gas’ Celtic Sea assets in the coming months , according to the Irish Examiner.

Lansdowne yesterday announced that drilling that drilling is to start at its Midleton prospect in the North Sea in August. The Dublin-headquartered company holds a 20pc stake in the venture, while Kinsale Energy holds an 80pc share.

kinsale will fund all of the drilling costs and  a contract with Diamond Offshore Drilling (UK) has been signed for use of the Ocean Guardian drilling rig.

***The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has signalled that the Coalition should row back on spending plans in the upcoming budget and focus on paying down the national debt.

In its latest assessment of the Irish economy, the Washington-based body said demographic pressures could pose budgetary challenges over the coming years.

"Measures to raise revenues should be considered to support adjustment in the face of these pressures and it is critical that any unwinding of savings in public sector wages be gradual and that efficiency gains continue," the IMF report said.

***First time buyers are bearing the brunt of costs associated with mortgage lending restrictions despite being far less likely to default.

According to research by the Central Bank first time buyers are 30pc less likely to default on a loan compared to those who have taken out loans on subsequent properties.

However, the costs of mortgage lending caps, such as the one recently introduced in Ireland which requires prospective buyers to put down a 20pc deposit, is borne out more so by first time buyers than by their peers.

Online Editors