Monday 22 January 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:

***Ryanair has defended its long relationship with KPMG, which has kept an eye on the airline's books for 30 years since the carrier was founded.

In the past 15 years alone, KPMG has been paid €10m by Ryanair for audit, tax and audit-related services, figures compiled by the Irish Independent show.

But new European Union rules mean that by 2020 Ryanair will be forced to seek a new auditor.

***Work has started on fewer than 3,000 homes to be sold on the open market and help alleviate the housing crisis so far this year.

Data from the Department of the Environment shows that just 4,671 units are under construction, but 40pc of these – or 1,883 – are one-off homes being built to order and unlikely to be put up for sale.

Although there has been a rise in the number of new homes at the beginning of every month compared with 2014, there is little or no activity in 12 of the 31 local authority areas.

***Publican and hotelier Louis Fitzgerald doesn’t fear the expansion of UK pub group JD Wetherspoon in Ireland, but said he’s realigning his own business to focus more on food – a key selling point for his giant UK rival.

Mr Fitzgerald’s group owns a number of high-profile pubs, including the Stag’s Head and Kehoe’s in Dublin, as well as the Quays Bar in Temple Bar and Galway, and the Poitin Stil on the Naas Road.

Mr Fitzgerald said he has recently sold The Traders pub in Walkinstown. It went up for sale last year with a €1.5m price tag.

Irish Times:

***Special liquidators at the former Anglo Irish Bank are likely to appeal a tax bill for €150m, the Irish Times reports.

The tax for IBRC, formerly Anglo, arises from the interpretation of rules related to income tax and to both salaries and one off bonuses to senior executives in the bank. It covers the period both before and after the bank was nationalised.

If an appeal is made to the Revenue Commissioners, which the newspaper reports is likely,  it could delay a final decision on the matter for years given the waiting times for appeal that apply.

***The preferred bidder for Project Jewel, a portfolio of Nama loans that includes the Dundrum shopping centre, is likely to be announced “imminently”, the Irish Times reports.

The newspaper reports that a consortium including UK firm Hammerson and Allianz are thought to have submitted the highest bids although contact is thought to be continuing with another consortium including US real estate group Hines.

The newspaper reports that an announcement is expected as soon as today, with the consortium including Hammerson Allianz thought to be the most likely winner.

***Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, is due to rule on planning permission for a €1bn project involving John Mulryan’s Ballymore group.

The venture, in which UK firm Hammerson is also involved, would see the development of one of the UK capital’s largest brownfield sites. The project would see 1,350 homes and more than 56,000 sq m of office built.

It has been met with opposition from locals who say that it would ruin a historic part of the city. Mr Johnson has decided to “call in” the project and will consider the planning application before making a final decision.

Irish Examiner:

***A new professional body has been set up in an attempt to secure Ireland as a prime location for companies looking to develop sales hubs for the EMEA region.

The Inside Sales Directors Network is a joint initiative between the Sales Institute of Ireland and the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals. It is aimed at boosting the “remote selling profession” in Ireland.

Inside selling is a business to business activity where organisations sell, usually high cost, items to each other where there is a need for in-depth product knowledge and ongoing discussions with clients.

***Irish wholesale gas prices were 8pc lower in September compared to the same month last year, according to new statistics.

However, the data , compiled by independent data supplier Vayu, shows that gas prices were 2pc higher than they were in August.

Irish wholesale gas prices are now 21pc lower in euro terms than the average monthly price recorded in September for each of the past three years.

***Global regulators have reached a draft agreement on a rule on stopping banks from being ‘too big to fail’ by requiring them to hold enough equity capital and bonds to avoid taxpayers being called on in a crisis.

The proposed standard is known as total loss absorbency capacity (TLAC) and Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who chairs the global regulatory Financial Services Board (FSB), has described it as the last major reform after the 2007-09 financial crisis forced governments to shore up lenders.

The rule will apply to nearly all the 30 big banks that the FSB deemed to be “globally systemic” such as Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC.

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