Monday 11 December 2017

What it says in the papers: business pages

Paul O'Donoghue

Here are the business stories you need to know about this morning:

Irish Independent:

***The Coalition will today launch a plan aimed at putting more people at work than ever before .

But the plan warns the regions of the countries they will have to work harder to attract both investment and workers. Quality of life will be a key component in attracting skilled workers and creating employment in the future, the plan confirms.

‘Enterprise 2025’ will be launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton this afternoon.

***Popular food and luxury goods retailer Avoca is to be sold to US multinational Aramark.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed but the Irish Independent understands that  Aramark will pay in excess of €60m.

Avoca has 11 outlets across Ireland – as well as a home catering company and employs 850 staff here.

***Sports Direct, the UK retail group owned by billionaire Mike Ashley, was locked in a bitter legal dispute with the owners of Irish retailer Heatons immediately prior to seeking competition approval last month to acquire the Irish group outright for €48m.

A High Court judge involved in the dispute said there are twists in the case “worthy of a Jeffery Archer novel” and that the two sides waged a “battle royal”, with several rows on-going between them.

Sports Direct has owned a 50pc stake in Heatons for years and only last month said that it had marginally increased that to a majority stake and had engineered an agreement to buy the remainder.

 

Irish Times:

***Banks have attempted to repossess almost 4,500 homes since the start of the year, new figures have shown.

Statistics from the Courts Service of Ireland released to the Irish Times shows lenders lodged 4,440 civic bills for repossession across all 26 of the State’s courts during the first nine months of the year.

86pc of the cases were primary homes, 2pc were buy to let and the remaining 16pc were classified as “other” dwellings.

***Ireland cannot rely solely on its low-tax policy for economic growth in a new era of global tax transparency, according to OECD chief economist Catherine Mann.

Speaking at a conference on tax policy hosted by the Department of Finance she said: “[In the future] ireland is going to have to seek real investment based on comparative advantages other than tax.”

She also said that international moves to align taxable profits with real economic activity will be a “negative for Ireland”, at least initially.

***Finance Minister Michael Noonan said in 2013 that the Government and Stormont could “work together” with US company Pimco, which wanted to buy Nama’s portfolio of Northern Irish loans that was eventually sold to US firm Cerberus.

According to documents released by an inquiry into the €1.6bn Project Eagle deal Mr Noonan told First Minister Peter Robinson that although there could be no exclusivity in the deal, “there was in his view only one potential buyer” for Project Eagle. Pimco was the only interested party at the time.

The sale of the portfolio to Cerberus is under investigation after claims that £6m from the sale to be shared by politicians and businessmen was transferred to an Isle of Man bank account.

 

Irish Examiner:

***Almost new 1,400 Irish jobs were announced yesterday, with the bulk of those being made up by tech giant Apple.

The US firm copper-fastened its long-term Irish future by confirming 1,000 new jobs, with the firm set to employ more than 6,000 workers in Dublin, Cork and Galway by 2017.

Meanwhile US recruitment website Indeed.com announced that it is to take on 300 staff over the next two years, more than doubling its current workforce, while Dublin mobile marketing company is to create 45 jobs after closing a $30m funding and acquisition round.

***The Central Bank has announced that it will investigate suspected breaches of insurance regulations by management at the former Quinn Insurance, which went into administration in 2010.

The bank has opened the inquiry after finding “reasonable grounds” in an investigation to suspect that management were in breach of rules governing the industry.

In these cases the bank will conduct an initial investigation before deciding whether or not to launch a full inquiry.

***The European Commission may not make a ruling on Apple’s tax dealings with Ireland until after Christmas, according to Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

Speaking yesterday he said that he hoped the tax issue would be resolved quickly, adding that he did not know the likely outcome of the probe and did not want to prejudice a decision.

The Commission is investigating whether Apple entered into an agreement with the Irish government that would have amounted to state aid.

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