Tuesday 24 October 2017

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

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

Irish Independent:

***Developers who sell homes at below market value will be given cash incentives as part of the Government’s desperate bid to tackle the housing supply crisis.

Strict new rules aimed at protecting tenants are set to be introduced by Environment Minister Alan Kelly, along with a string of sweeteners for builders and landlords.

Up to 8,650 affordable homes in Dublin and Cork will be unlocked by the end of 2017 at a cost of €180m to the taxpayer.

***Bank of Ireland has strongly criticised proposals from the Central Bank that would require lenders to increase the amount of information they give to small and medium-sized businesses looking for credit.

The Central Bank launched a public consultation period earlier this year as part of a review of the Code of Conduct for Business Lending to SMEs. Under the proposed changes, lenders would be required to provide reasons for declining credit that are specific to the application.

But in its response to the consultation, Bank of Ireland argued the proposed measures are “unparalleled in an EU and international context”, would have a negative impact on customers, and will do little, if anything, to improve the flow of credit to the SME sector.

***Thousands of homeowners will have to file a tax return for the first time because of money they earned from being Airbnb hosts.

They have been warned that they have to declare their extra income by the end of the month. There are steep penalties for those who do not file a return or are late filing it.

It is estimated that up to 2,200 homeowners will have to pay and file a tax return for the first time because of the extra income they are getting for using the online service.

Irish Times:

***Businessman Denis O’Brien yesterday signalled that he would revisit the idea of floating Caribbean mobile firm Digicel after pulling the company’s IPO during the week.

Mr O’Brien said that he expects the market volatility which he blamed for the decision to pull the proposed listing on the New York Stock Exchange will “settle down within three to six months”.

Speaking to CNBC television in the US he said: “We will come back to the market in time when market conditions are right”.

***Irish Water is expecting that 80pc of its customers will pay their bills in the coming years, despite a current compliance rate of just over 50pc.

The semi-state company is looking to generate an extra €2bn in revenue from residential customers by 2021, another €2bn from business customers and a further €3.8bn in State grants.

Michael McNicholas, the chief executive of Irish Water's parent company Ervia, said that the €2bn residential figure is based on the assumption of an 80pc compliance rate.

***The US vulture fund Cerberus provided the North’s First Minister Peter Robinson with an assurance that Nama borrowers would be released from personal guarantees.

The fund said “debt forgiveness” was also on the table for co-operating borrowers.

The pledges were revealed in a letter to Mr Robinson just days before the firm bought Nama’s northern loan portfolio, Project Eagle, for €1.6bn.

Irish Examiner:

***Most of the tax cuts being considered for the upcoming budget are “profoundly unfair” and will have no effect on the most vulnerable members of society, it has been claimed.

In a pre-budget submission evaluating a range of proposed tax measures Social Justice Ireland was critical of several proposals made by Government members over the last number of months.

Among other suggestions it wants the Government to abandon plans to cut the top rate of tax and reduce the 7pc Universal Social Charge rate.

***The decline in Tesco Ireland’s sales slowed in the first half of the year despite its parent company recording a 55pc drop in operating profit.

Yesterday's interim data hinted at a recovery for Tesco Ireland where the retailer generated €1.24bn in revenues, a 3.7pc drop in like-for-like sales compared to the same period last year.

However at the halfway point last year Irish like-for-like sales were seeing first half revenue declines of 6pc.

***British retailer Sports Direct has reached an agreement to assume full ownership of Irish firm Heatons in a €47.5m deal.

Sports Direct already owns 50pc of the holding company that controls Heatons and has reached an agreement with a minority shareholder to push its stake to an unspecified majority.

The UK retailer also has a ‘put and call’ option agreement with Heatons’ remaining investors that would see Sports Direct gaining control of 100pc of the company.

Online Editors

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