Monday 23 October 2017

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

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

Irish Independent:

***British Airways owner IAG will relinquish takeoff and landing slots at Gatwick airport as part of a deal with the European Commission to secure clearance for its €1.36bn takeover of Aer Lingus.

As part of the deal IAG will hand over five daily takeoff and landing slots at Gatwick, which can then be used by competitors to operate routes from both Dublin and Belfast to the London airport.

The British carrier, headed by Willie Walsh, has also promised that Aer Lingus will continue to carry connecting passengers to long-haul flights operated by competing airlines out of Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin.

***A former Anglo Irish Bank executive faces the prospect of jail after he was reported to gardai by the Banking Inquiry.

The failed bank’s former head of lending, Tom Browne, failed to provide the inquiry with an opening statement ahead of a scheduled appearance next week – as he is required under strict legislation.

Mr Browne’s refusal to comply with the inquiry means he now faces a grilling from gardai and a possible High Court action if he continues to defy the inquiry’s instruction.

***The upcoming Budget should introduce a scheme to encourage more investors to back early stage firms with their savings, according to a paper prepared by a group of business leaders representing over 2,000 start-up companies in Dublin.

In its pre-budget submission, seen by the Irish Independent, the Dublin Startup Leaders Group calls on the Government to introduce an equivalent to the UK’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

The group, founded by the Dublin Commissioner for Startups Niamh Bushnell, is made up of representatives from more than 40 organisations including the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, the Irish Software Association and the Digital Hub. In the UK the SEIS scheme encourages investors to finance startups by providing tax breaks for people prepared to back risky projects.

Irish Times:

***The lawyer who was at the centre of the sale of Nama’s £1.1bn Northern Ireland assets to US firm Cerberus last year says that no politician was to ever receive any money from the transaction.

Ian Coulter, the managing partner of the Belfast law firm that provided legal counsel on the purchase of the portfolio, said that no politician, “nor any relative of any politician in Northern Ireland, was ever to receive any monies in any way as part of this deal.”

Allegations about the deal were levelled in the Dáil recently by Independent TD Mick Wallace, who claimed that £7m in an Isle of Man account linked to the deal was "reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or political party".

***The body that oversees the accounting profession in Ireland has still not yet started an investigation into the closing of Bloxham Stockbrokers, against which were subsequent findings of malpractice, the Irish Times reports.

The stockbroking company was forced to shut its doors after the Central Bank found a €5.3m hole in its accounts, which meant that it was trading without the required regulatory shortfall.

However the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board has still yet to start an investigation into the matter, telling the newspaper that it is awaiting the outcome of a Central Bank investigation to “avoid duplication of processes”.

***Postmasters yesterday returned  thousands of new social protection forms to Tanaiste Joan Burton’s department, claiming that the government is trying to divert business away from post offices.

The department sparked outrage after it sent out thousands of application forms urging customers to receive State payments by direct debit to a bank account instead of the post office.

The Irish Postmasters union said that it has been frustrated by the Government’s efforts to “hand core business over to commercial banks”.

Irish Examiner:

***The Government has been urged to set up a taskforce to secure the future of Ireland’s only oil refinery, the Irish Times reports.

According to the newspaper, Cork County Council has written to the State expressing its concern after fears were raised that US multinational Philips 66 could withdraw from the Whitegate refinery in Cork when its contract to run the facility expires next July.

The company confirmed earlier this week that it is still selling the refinery despite ending the marketing of the asset due to weak demand.

***Retail sales and high street spending are set to continue to drive the economic recovery, according to a leading economist.

Chief economist with Merrion Capital Alan McQuaid said that retail sales will boost growth in 2015 and 2016, when he expects to see the economy expand by 4.2pc and 3.9pc respectively.

“Retail sales, though erratic, are up from year-on-year. We will see wage increases. Employment is rising. More people are confident the crisis is over,” he said.

***The  cost of accessing credit for businesses is much higher in Ireland than elsewhere in the Eurozone, according to data from the Central Bank published yesterday.

in its survey of interest rates for businesses and households the organisation found that the average cost of credit charged by banks was 3pc in the three months to the end of June.

Although this was down from 3.25pc at the end of last year, the rates are still much higher than many of those being charged in the Eurozone, where the average interest on corporate loans is 2.24pc.

Online Editors

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