Wednesday 17 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:

***Paypal Ireland boss Louise Phelan has revealed that the massive multinational is asking its staff to offer rooms to new employees, who cannot find rental accommodation here.

PayPal, which employs some 2,400 people in Dublin and Dundalk, is now requesting that staff make spare rooms available because of the dire shortage of homes and apartments to rent.

Speaking at the Construction Industry Federation annual conference, Ms Phelan warned the situation was now “at crisis point” and is at the stage where Ireland will lose foreign direct investment and the crucial jobs that come with it.

***The sale of Aer Lingus to British Airways owner IAG was a “sad day”, according to Virgin boss Richard Branson.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Branson, who founded and controls Virgin Atlantic, said that his airline will work with the European Commission to ensure that competition concessions imposed on IAG to allow the Aer Lingus acquisition to go ahead are implemented and adhered to.

IAG, headed by former Aer Lingus and British Airways boss Willie Walsh, paid €1.36bn this year to buy the Irish airline. British Airways and Virgin have been bitter rivals for over two decade.

***Nama has rejected allegations that the sale of its Northern loan portfolio was “corrupt” – as it emerged that a second police investigation is ongoing into claims of crooked payments.

The agency’s chief executive revealed that gardaí have launched an inquiry into allegations that a construction company paid bribes totalling €30,000 to an official in a bid to exit Nama.

Brendan McDonagh said he had met gardaí about the allegations, made in the Dáil by Independent TD Mick Wallace in July.

Irish Times:

***The Government has received a boost for the upcoming budget as new Exchequer figures show that the tax take is far ahead of what was expected.

The Irish Times reports that the data to be released today will show that tax receipts in September beat the official target by over €300m.

The newspaper reports the figures will also show that the tax take in the first nine months of the year was more than €1.7bn ahead of target, putting the tax collection on course to be ahead by €2bn by the end of the year.

***Ireland’s corporate tax regime is to come under increased pressure as EU ministers are to sign off next week on a proposal that will oblige member states to reveal details of tax settlements offered to companies.

EU finance ministers are expected to agree on the automatic exchange of tax rulings when they meet on Tuesday.

The proposal was launched by the European Commission earlier this year following the Luxleaks scandal.

***Almost 80,000 Irish vehicles run the controversial software that has put German car manufacturer Volkswagen at the centre of an emissions test cheating scandal.

Volkswagen passenger cars, Audis, Skodas, Seats and VW commercial cars were affected. The vehicles were sold through the company’s authorised dealer network in Ireland.

VW also estimates that there could be a further 30,000 used imports on Irish roads that may be affected, however it says that the issue is “still under clarification”.

Irish Examiner:

***Many companies are only able to continue trading due to the low interest rates available to them, it has been claimed.

Managing partner of financial services firm Hughes Blake Neil Hughes has called on policymakers to limit the impact that an inevitable hikes in interest rates will have on small and medium businesses.

His warning came as new data from the Hughes Blake SME Examinership Index show that fewer companies are being forced into examinership.

***New figures show that nearly €650m was spent on hotel transactions in the first nine months of the year, indicating that 2015 will be a bumper year for sales in the sector.

New figures from commercial property consultant CBRE Ireland show that 54 transactions took place in the nine months to the end of September compared to 63 during the same period in 2014.

However, last year’s total transaction value of under €400m has already been comfortably passed.

***Digicel's move to block ads on its customers’ phones across its mobile network is part of a wider shift that will force a huge change in advertising, according to an expert in the field.

The Caribbean mobile operator, owned by businessman Denis O’Brien, announced last week that it intends to employ ad-blocking as standard across its network. Apple recently made a similar move in its latest software update.

Digital Marketing Institute co-founder Ian Dodson said that the move marked a major shift in the “tacit agreement” that has been in place between users, publishers and advertisers since the beginning of the online age.

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