Friday 24 November 2017

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

Here are the business stories you need to know about this morning:

Irish Independent:

***The Coalition is planning a freeze on property tax for an extra two years, in a pre-election sop to the middle classes.

The move is targeted at voters – in Dublin in particular – who were worried that the rise in house prices would result in   far higher property tax bills.

Every house in the country was due to revalued by the Revenue Commissioners next year, with higher bills kicking in the following year. Now the Government is examining a freeze until 2019.

***Ireland is at risk of losing growing numbers of startup businesses to the UK where the tax regime for entrepreneurs is much more competitive, business leaders have warned.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce said it has noted an increase in the number of businesses seeking to relocate away from Ireland to Britain, and warned the UK has achieved a number of competitive advantages within the last five years that pose a threat.

The Chamber said the tax regime for entrepreneurs in the UK is better than Ireland in nine out of ten categories.

***The man behind Dundrum Town Centre has teamed up with a Middle East investment group in a bid to buy the former Jurys and Berkeley Court hotels in Dublin.

Joe O’Reilly’s Chartered Land is believed to have been named as the preferred bidder for the seven-acre site for the two hotels, which sits on some of the most valuable land in the country.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is understood to be backing Chartered Land in a €155m bid for the property. Even at €155m, the sale price would be a fraction of the €380m paid by bust developer Sean Dunne for the property in 2005.

Irish Times:

***Mothercare has become the latest big-name retailer to go into examinership as efforts are made to protect 276 jobs in 18 stores.

The aim of seeking court protection and examinership is to achieve a restructuring of the company, save as many jobs as possible and minimise store closures, the company said.

It is Ireland’s largest maternity, baby, nursery and children’s clothes retailer. However, the company has said it cannot afford to support unprofitable stores.

***Property developer Sean Mulryan was prevented from reading out a statement at the banking inquiry yesterday clarifying his position in relation to a dispute between Ballymore Group, which he founded, and Czech company Flow East.

The Irish Times yesterday reported that Flow East is suing Ballymore for allegedly going back on an agreement to hold exclusive talks with the firm to buy assets in Prague for €81.5m.

The committee refused a request from Mr Mulryan to read out a statement, citing legal advice.

***Over 330 jobs are to be created in Donegal over the next three years by one of the biggest employers operating in the country, Pramerica Systems Ireland.

Since arriving in Letterkenny in 2000, Pramerica Systems Ireland has increased its initial workforce from a team of just eight to 1,200.

The company will also build a new office campus in Letterkenny. Construction is to start in the fourth quarter of this year and is  expected to be completed by the summer of 2017.

Irish Examiner:

***Michael O’Flynn, one of the country’s most prominent property developers, has claimed that Nama “demonised” his profession and claims that the crash was not caused by developers.

Speaking at the banking inquiry he also said the board of Nama lacked experience in many important areas and had failed to distinguish between professional developers with a solid business model and amateur developers who did not.

He also said that the organisation should have used its funds to help his companies grow and pay off debt as “that’s the nature of the business”.

***The Irish Farmers Association has called on the Government to pledge a €580m spending plan in the upcoming budget to help stimulate the rural economy.

In its pre-budget submission the organisation said that the funding should be used to underpin the viability of family farms and provide employment across the country.

Among the areas that the IFA is asking for the State to splash out on is €250m for agri-environment schemes and €65m for the suckler-cow herd.

***The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has spent over €2.3m in consultancy fees over the past year, new figures have revealed.

Brendan Howlin’s department made the spend after engaging with consultancy firms for issues such as economic consultations and energy advisory services.

In a response to a parliamentary question from Renua TD Lucinda Creighton Mr Howlin said that every effort is made to limit the amount spent on consultants.

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