Monday 23 April 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

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

Irish Independent:

***Allied Irish Banks has lashed out at Citibank’s latest efforts to derail a $500m (€458m) lawsuit launched over a decade ago after rogue trader John Rusnak racked up $691m of losses at former AIB subsidiary Allfirst.

AIB claims that Citibank is relying on “illusory errors” to persuade a New York court that it should reconsider a June determination that denied, in part, Citibank’s motion for summary judgment in the case.

Citibank wants the court to dismiss, “with prejudice”, AIB’s claims against it. AIB sued Citibank, part of Citigroup, and Bank of America, after Mr Rusnak’s losses came to light in 2002. Citibank was Allfirst’s prime broker.

***Credit unions will lobby every TD in the country in a bid to block new Central Bank rules, which they say are giving an unfair advantage to banks.

The move is being co-ordinated by the Irish League of Credit Unions and will put pressure on politicians, especially Government TDs, ahead of a general election in the coming months.

Credit unions are upset at new regulations being introduced by the Central Bank that are due to come into force in January that will see a savings limit of €100,000 per credit union member.

***Galway medical device firm Vivasure has raised €700,000 in fresh funding from existing backers including two US-based investment funds.

It brings to over €18m the amount of money that has been raised by the Irish company over the past six years.

Founded in 2009 by chief executive Gerard Brett, Vivasure Medical has developed a platform technology that has applications in vessel closure during surgery.

Irish Times:

***The mortgage-to-rent scheme is struggling due to “cultural resistance” from some local authorities and lenders, the Department of the Environment has warned.

The scheme sees distressed borrowers forfeit their homes to their lender, who then sell it to an approved housing body who then rent it back to the borrower on behalf of the local authority.

However, Brian O’Gorman, the chief executive of Cluid which is the largest voluntary housing organisation in the country, wrote to a working on mortgage arrears saying that “part of the reason the scheme has struggled is that it has encountered strong cultural resistance on the part of local authorities and lenders”.

***Retailers have asked Dublin City Council to scrap plans to pedestrianise parts of Dublin City Centre as they believe it will damage trade.

The Dublin City Centre Transport Study proposes to invest more than €150m to make the city more pedestrian and public transport friendly.

As part of a public consultation on the study Retail Ireland, a division of employers’ lobby group Ibec, has written to the council plans to enhance public transport should not lead to t6he displacement of shoppers who prefer to take their car.

***The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) is to is to cut its public service bill by €10 from October, marginally reducing electricity bills.

The Irish Times reports that the move will fall by 35 cent a month to €5.01, a saving of 70 cents on bi-monthly bills.

The cost over 12 months will now be just over €60, below its current level of €64.37.

Irish Examiner:

***Cork city’s planners have written to Finance Minister Micahel Noonan asking him to extend a tax break scheme designed to promote regeneration and city living, the Irish Examiner reports.

The Living City initiative, which was announced in last October’s budget and will launch in 2020, is designed to promote the regeneration of properties in designated areas and encourage urban dwelling.

The scheme provides an income tax deduction for qualifying expenditure incurred on refurbishment or conversion of residential and commercial buildings that under certain conditions.

***China is under growing pressure to further stimulate its economy after disappointing data over the weekend showed another heavy fall in factory-gate prices and a surprise slump in exports.

Producer prices in July hit their lowest point since late 2009, during the aftermath of the global financial crisis, and have been sliding continuously for more than three years.

Exports tumbled 8.3pc in the same month, their biggest fall in four months, putting pressure on China’s central bank to further cut interest rates, having already cut four times since November in the most aggressive easing in nearly seven years.

***The construction sector continued to grow last month although there were signs of a slowdown in comparison to June, according to figures released today.

The Ulster Bank purchasing manager’s index fell from 65.7 to 59.1 in July. Any reading above 50 denotes construction expansion, while any figure below signals a contraction.

Although there were pressures put on Irish firms by the cost of imports from non-EU countries the sector continued to expand, with activity, new orders and employment all growing.

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