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Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - October 06, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Oct 6, 2014 - 11:16 AM

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Irish Independent

SAVERS have suffered a new blow after the interest paid on state savings schemes was cut again.

Traditionally, state savings schemes were regarded as a good- value attractive option for savers, as they paid high interest, with no tax on many of them.

But interest on six of the state savings products has fallen - the fourth cut in less than two years. And it comes as banks have repeatedly cut the rates they will pay savers.

In the summer, the European Central Bank (ECB) slashed its main lending rate to just 0.05pc, after it had made more than a dozen cuts since 2008.

US investment giant Sankaty Advisors has embarked on a $1bn (€800m) fundraising drive to bankroll initiatives including its new joint venture with billionaire Dermot Desmond.

Sankaty Advisors has begun sounding out potential investors to raise between $700m and $1bn for a direct lending fund that will target businesses that have seen traditional banks restrict lending since the financial crisis began.

The firm - a unit of investment group Bain Capital - intends to provide senior secured debt to middle-market companies in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Sankaty, which manages $25bn worth of assets, and Dermot Desmond have partnered to back a new venture called Broadhaven Credit Investments.

Silicon Valley stalwart Hewlett-Packard Co, which has struggled to adapt to the new era of mobile and online computing, plans to split into two companies as it looks to put more focus on the faster-growing corporate services market, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The move, which could be announced as early as Monday, would be a monumental reshaping of one of technology's most important pioneers, which still has more than 300,000 employees and is on track to book $112 billion in revenue this fiscal year.

Under the reported plan, HP will separate its computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations, and spin the unit off through a tax-free distribution of shares to stockholders next year.

A company spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

Irish Times

The creation of some 1,200 new jobs was announced this morning, as BWG, the company behind Spar in Ireland, said it will invest €100 million in store development over the next five years, while two companies in Cork and Tipperary are to boost their employment by creating 100 new jobs each.

The convenience brand Spar said it plans to add 50 new stores to its network by 2016, leading to the creation of up to 1,000 new full and part-time jobs over the next two years.

The announcement follows the recent investment by BWG South Africa, which saw it take an 80 per cent holding in the group and set aside funds of up to €100 million for investment.

Chris Johns: Has the significance of inward investment been exaggerated, even to the detriment to the growth of indigenous businesses? The jobs provided by multinationals are, of course, vital. But the stark fact is that employment in foreign-owned companies assisted by agencies such as the IDA is only a touch above where it was 10 years ago – and is actually below where it was in 2000.

Profitability data illustrate the divide while also referencing that tax debate. On one measure at least, CSO numbers show that Ireland has the most profitable companies in the EU. But we slip towards the bottom of that league table once foreign-owned enterprises are excluded. In fact, apart from Lithuania and France, we have the least profitable firms in Europe.

Viva, the airline brand backed by the family of the late Tony Ryan is embarking on a major expansion drive in Central and South America.

The group, which already operates low-cost Mexican carrier VivaAerobus and Columbian airline VivaColombia, is setting up a multinational holding company in Panama called Grupa Viva.

The new entity will oversee the expansion of the Viva brand beyond its current operations. The group is understood to be eyeing opportunities in Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador, where long-established monopolies still hold sway and fares remain high relative to average incomes.

Irish Examiner

The International Monetary Fund will cut its estimates for German economic growth in 2014 and 2015 to around 1.5% for each year, due to the crises in Ukraine and the Middle East, weekly German magazine Der Spiegel said yesterday.

The forecasts are due to be published tomorrow.

In July, the IMF predicted Europe’s largest economy would expand by 1.9% this year and by 1.7% next year.

Der Spiegel said the IMF would also call on the German government to do more to boost public and private investment, as this would help prop-up growth in the short-term and also bring benefits for the country in the medium-term.

Europe

Euro Topics: After its victory in the parliamentary elections in Latvia on Saturday, the pro-Western centre-right coalition led by Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma will continue to rule the country. The pro-Russian Harmony Party however became the second-largest party in parliament. Its voters want a return to the old Soviet times, some commentators believe. Others see the election result as a sign of reconciliation between the Latvians and the Russian minority.

Harmony party is Putin's fifth column: It's no big surprise that the pro-Russian Harmony party received almost one quarter of the vote, the Internet portal Tvnet believes: "Twenty-three percent for Harmony is neither surprising nor shocking. The party had already received 20 percent and more in past elections, and the majority of its voters have always been situated in the Latvian capital. Now, however, this pro-Kremlin party has managed to bring together those inhabitants of Latvia who want to live in a state of self-imposed isolation and who support party leader Nils Ušakovs' efforts to make Latvia part of Putin's empire. This is further evidence that many long for a return to the old Soviet era. It will be difficult to integrate the advocates of this colonialist mentality into Latvian public life. Those who voted for Harmony don't want to be integrated. They want to go on being Putin's fifth column in Riga, Daugavpils oder Liepāja."

Anti-gay procession in France: Tens of thousands of people demonstrated for "traditional family values" in Paris and Bordeaux on the weekend. The organisation "Demo for all", which above all targets artificial insemination for lesbian couples and surrogacy, called for the protest. The left-liberal daily Libération sees the movement as anti-gay because the real targets are "homosexuals whom the movement wants to see relegated to a discriminatory status. The demonstrators aren't campaigning for a right here but against the rights of a certain group. They aren't citing social or scientific values but a religiously motivated prejudice for discriminating against non-conventional couples. This 'Demo for All' is essentially just an anti-gay procession. What the demonstrators basically want is political Catholicism."

IS atrocities should repulse young Muslims: British Prime Minister David Cameron and representatives of the Muslim community harshly condemned the beheading of British hostage Alan Henning by IS extremists on the weekend. If this deed moves young Muslims to turn their back on the IS, Henning's death won't have been in vain, the conservative daily The Sunday Times writes: "The hope must be that the tiny minority tempted by Isis are as repulsed as the rest of the Muslim community by its murderous brutality. ... The murder of Mr Henning, a gentle and compassionate man, confirms everything we know about Isis. We mourn his death. But if it makes young Muslims realise that Isis is an organisation that deserves their revulsion, it will not have been in vain. And if, as Mr Cameron has said, it adds to our resolve to degrade and defeat Isis, the killers will have failed."


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