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:

***Self-employed business ­people and farmers will be ­offered a tax break worth €1,650 over the next five years – ­starting in next week’s Budget.

This is on top of the ­reduction in the Universal Social Charge (USC) of at least 1.5pc – the start of a possible trend over coming years.

Finance Minister Michael ­Noonan confirmed he will ­begin to extend the PAYE tax credit – worth €1,650 – to the self-employed and farmers in Budget 2016.

***A Belfast accountant believed he was entitled to a Stg£7.5m “acquisition fee” linked to the sale of Nama’s northern loan book, Project Eagle.

A draft letter written by prominent accountant David Watters also claims he had the initial idea for the sell-off of the agency’s northern loans.

The cash referred to was the Stg£7.5m moved to an Isle of Man account by Ian Coulter, the former managing partner at Belfast law firm Tughans.

***The Central Bank has blocked the  proposed $105m takeover of Dublin based contracts-for-difference broker AvaTrade by online gambling software giant Playtech.

Founded in 2006, AvaTrade is a financial services broker headquartered in Dublin. Playtech, which is headquartered in the Isle of Man and was founded by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, announced in July that it had agreed to acquire AvaTrade in an all-share that valued the broker at $105m (€95m).

However, the company announced yesterday that it received a letter from the Central Bank opposing the deal. It is understood that the transaction cannot proceed without receiving approval from the Central Bank.

Irish Times:

***The Government has warned the EU not to go beyond new proposals announced yesterday that seek to set down rules to deal with the taxing of multinational companies.

60 OECD states have agreed to improve transparency rules and reduce the use of tax havens after a report by the OECD which said that governments are losing about €213bn a year due to aggressive tax planning from large companies.

While welcoming the report, Finance Minister Michael Noonan warned the EU against plans favoured by the European Commission to draw up even tougher rules.

***Volkswagen has launched a website that will allow Irish car owners to check if their cars are one of those affected by the software that was designed to cheat US emissions tests.

Volkswagen has said that about 80,000 cars on Irish roads could be affected. Car owners can check if their car is among those with the software by visiting the website,, and entering the vehicle’s registration.

VW Group managing director Lars Himmer said in a statement on the website that “In October, VW group will present the relevant technical solutions and measures to the responsible authorities.”

***Irish hotel group Dalata has received shareholder approval to raise €160m by issuing new shares.

The company has said that the new funds will allow the firm to look at additional acquisitions, expand its existing properties and build new hotels.

At an extraordinary general meeting in dublin yesterday the resolutions to allow the capital raise received more than 99pc of the votes.

Irish Examiner:

***The ESB could face hundreds of claims after a court ruled yesterday that it was liable for damage caused to buildings in University College Cork during severe flooding in Cork City five years ago.

It was found that the ESB, as dam operator, was liable for 60pc of the flood damage while UCC was responsible for the remaining 40pc.

A solicitor representing about 40 Cork residents said that the ESB could be the subject of additional legal action, adding that “potentially hundreds” of other householders could bring cases.

***The Irish arm of social media giant, Twitter last year returned to profit, new documents show.

In an auditor’s report lodged with the Companies Office, the documentation confirms that the Dublin-based firm, Twitter International Company, returned to profit after recording a loss in 2013.

However, the extent of the profit at Twitter’s Dublin HQ in the three page report by PwC isn’t revealed as Twitter’s company status here is unlimited  and it is therefore not required to file annual accounts.

***A slowdown in the manufacturing sector has raised warnings about the outlook for exports, the Irish Examiner reports.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the sector contracted by 1pc in August to July. The quarterly figures show that production from June to the end of August was 1.6pc lower than the previous three months.

Analysts say that the fall in manufacturing output suggest that the huge recent increase in exports, which has helped drive the economic recovery in the past two years, could ease off dramatically.

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