Monday 19 March 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:

***Ireland paid too much for the bailout because the EU wouldn’t let the country burn bondholders, the IMF chief who designed the rescue plan says.

Ajai Chopra, former deputy director of the International Monetary Fund, said the European Central Bank was wrong to issue an ultimatum to Ireland and pushed the country’s public debt higher than it needed to be.

“Ultimatums are not the right way to do business,” he told the Banking Inquiry. Burning the bondholders, which the ECB would not permit, could have made a sizeable cut in Ireland’s debt, Mr Chopra said.

***AIB and Citibank will square up to each other at trial in a New York court on January 25 in a $500m (€447m) showdown that’s been over a decade in the making.

State-owned AIB is trying to win damages from the US financial giant in relation to its alleged role in the $691m (€617m) John Rusnak rogue trader scandal.

After years of protracted legal arguments, the judge hearing the case, Deborah Batts, has just set the trial date. It’s slated to last between two to three weeks and will dredge up what was a major international event back in 2002.

***Investment fund IPUT is to make more than 400,000 sq ft of office space available in Dublin over the next three years, as the race to capitalise on soaring rents in the capital heats up.

IPUT last night launched its newly refurbished office block at 7 Hanover Quay, which has around 68,000 sq ft of space. That, however, is only the start of a much wider move by the firm.

Office rents for the top areas of Dublin currently stand at about €52.50 per sq ft. That is an increase of more than 50pc in just over two years. Analysts however believe that rents may go as high as €70 per sq ft in the coming year as the market for new space is so tight.


Irish Times:

***The Irish economy is growing much stronger than has recently been forecast and the Government expects it could expand by as much as 6pc this year.

According to the Central Statistics Office the economy expanded by almost 2pc in the three months to the end of June. GDP has now increased by 6.7pc in the first half of the year.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan says that the government will now likely upgrade its economic forecast from its current level of 4pc to “about 6pc”.

***The IRFU has appointed a team of advisors who it will help it win its bid to host the rugby World CUp in 2023.

Accountancy and consultancy firm Deloitte will manage the bid process on behalf of the IRFU. The team will get assistance from Deloitte’s sports unit in the UK which was involved in the bid for the London 2012 Olympics.

Irish International, a BBDO company, has been appointed to handle the creative elements of the campaign while Havas unit Seven46 will act as a “strategic content messaging advisor”.

***One of the country’s biggest property developers, Michael O’Flynn, has accused Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county council of bias after it refused his company planning permission for a €70m housing development.

The High Court has approved Mr O’Flynn’s decision to challenge refuse permission for the development that would see 164 homes built in Cabinteely, Dublin.

The council claims that the development proposal was unsuitable for several reasons, saying it posed a flood risk and went against a planning scheme in the area. However, Mr O’Flynn says the council’s decision was influenced by a dispute over a road leading into the proposed development.


Irish Examiner:

***An Irish-founded startup has won funding worth more than €15m from the UK government to help it build the world’s first plant dedicated to turning whiskey by-products into biofuels that can be used to fuel cars.

Biofuel firm Celtic renewables was the largest winner in the competition ran by the UK government, taking the largest share of a £25m funding pot.

The Edinburgh-based firm is headed up by Cork native Professor Martin Tagney. It hopes that the plant will be operational by December 2018.

***The rising costs of education, hotels and rent all helped bring an end to eight months of deflation in August, according to new figures.

Prices rose by 0.4pc during the month, although they were unchanged compared to August 2014 according to the Consumer Price Index figures from the Central Statistics Office.

Education costs increased the most, rising by 5pc, while communications, up 2.5pc, and restaurants and hotels, up 1.9pc, also became more expensive during the month.

***The sterling hit a three week high against the euro yesterday with bank of England policymakers saying that they think the first UK interest rate since 2007 is drawing closer.

The nine-member Monetary Policy Committee voted this week to keep the benchmark interest rate at its current record low level of 0.5pc.

During the day the pound gained 0.2pc to 72.81 pence per euro and hit 72.40 pence on Wednesday, the strongest it has been since August 21.

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