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Friday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - November 14, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Nov 14, 2014 - 2:12 PM

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Irish Independent

Europe's largest economy eked out 0.1pc growth from the previous three months, the German statistics office said, following a revised 0.1pc fall in the second quarter.

A strong rise in consumer spending and small boost from foreign trade prevented a worse result.

France expanded by 0.3pc on the quarter, beating forecasts for 0.2pc growth, marking its best performance in more than a year. But its second quarter was revised down to show a 0.1pc fall in GDP.

President Francois Hollande's Socialist government expects growth of just 0.4pc for the whole year, less than half its initial forecast, and has said it would miss a pledge to bring its public deficit down to 3pc of GDP next year.

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny told group of business leaders in the US there are no more "brass plate companies" in Ireland.

Mr Kenny said the Government had addressed the controversial 'double Irish' taxation loophole which allowed multinational companies avoid paying millions of euros of taxes.

He also called for a change to US immigration legislation to allow the undocumented Irish return home without fear of being refused re-entry.

He said some Irish people living in America are not "fully free because they cannot go home".

The Taoiseach was speaking as he received a life time achievement award from the Ireland US Council in New York last night.

More than eight in ten SMEs have reported increased or stable turnover, a government-backed survey has found.

The SME Credit Demand Survey found that trading conditions continue to improve for small and medium-sized businesses, with 84pc of companies surveyed responding that turnover has increased or remained stable. Some 30pc said they have increased staff.

The survey was carried out among 1,500 businesses between April and September.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that despite the improving conditions, demand for credit remains low at 31pc of the 1,500 surveyed.

Sarah Carey: I'VE been listening to the water charges row with a certain sense of distance, and that’s not a metaphor.

I live in a rural area and therefore won’t be a “customer” of Irish Water. Like most rural dwellers too far from town, we have a private well and “waste water treatment system” that deals with our poo. I have to admit when the form arrived from Irish Water it felt like I’d won €500 in the Lotto.

So I’ve kept the head down a bit - apart from pointing out that the EU passed a law in 2000 giving us 15 years to bring in domestic water rates. With 7 weeks to go, we’re barely meeting the deadline. However there’s one argument being made against charges that seems clever but has irked me.

It’s the point that since water is currently paid for from the central exchequer then Irish Water customers are due a refund. Every time I hear it I think – hang on, I pay the same income tax and VAT as everyone else but I don’t get any water services. There are half million households with “on-site” waste-water treatment systems like me. Does that mean we should get a refund too, not just “going-forward” but historical too? If pressed, I could build a reasonably good case for reparations.

Irish Times

Starbucks’s tax deal with Dutch authorities may be illegal state aid as it allows the world’s biggest coffee chain to pay tax on a lower corporate income tax base, European Union antitrust regulators said today.

The comments by the European Commission came five months after it opened an in-depth investigation into the case involving the company’s Starbucks Manufacturing EMEA BV.

“The Commission’s preliminary view is that the Advanced Pricing Arrangements in favor of Starbucks Manufacturing EMEA BV constitutes State aid... The Commission has doubts about the compatibility of such aid with the internal market,” the EU executive said.

Developer Johnny Ronan is on the verge of buying out his loans of €300 million from the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) with the financial backing of Colony Capital, a $20 billion US investment fund.

Colony is best known in Ireland for supporting developer Paddy McKillen when he refinanced his loans with it, including his investment in the Maybourne Hotel Group in London, from the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Talks have been going on between Mr Ronan and Nama over his personal and company debts since last March. He is understood to have submitted an indicative offer backed by Colony to Nama to buy out his entire private property portfolio at par.

Top law firm Arthur Cox has warned that the Government risks undermining the integrity of the tax system in its reform of the treatment of family gifts for tax.

It says proposals to tighten rules governing gifts from parents to their adult children will prove unworkable in their current form.

The Finance Bill includes a provision to limit an exemption from 33 per cent capital acquisitions tax (better known as gift or inheritance tax) on gifts from parent to children under the age of 18, or up to 25 if they remain in full time education.

The law firm says this would expose adult children in part-time education or otherwise vulnerable by virtue of financial distress, unemployment or disability to the threat of tax on everyday family support.

Irish Examiner

Ireland moved close to an accord on repaying IMF bailout loans early, with Sweden set to become the last EU nation to agree.

Europe

Euro Topics: In its report published on Thursday Fifa's Ethics Committee cleared Russia and Qatar of alleged corruption in the bidding process to host the World Cup. But the chief investigator has said in interviews that there were gaps in his findings. This is not what a proper investigation looks like, some commentators say. Others are optimistic that the Fifa report will ensure stricter criteria for potential World Cup hosts.

Blatter can't weather this storm: In its own interest, Fifa must publish the entire report of its chief investigator Michael Garcia, the UK business daily Financial Times demands: "This fiasco highlights the need for a revolution in the way Fifa is run. ... Mr Blatter may think he can weather the current storm, as he has survived so many squalls before. This time, he may have miscalculated. ... European football associations are becoming increasingly uneasy over Mr Blatter's reluctance to deal with allegations of serious malpractice. Change is coming to Fifa. Publication of the full Garcia report is where it must start."

Fifa boss is the main problem: As long as Fifa boss Sepp Blatter remains at the head of the Federation, international football will be plagued by intransparency, the conservative daily Die Welt writes commenting on the Fifa Ethics Committee's report on the Fifa World Cup going to Russia and Qatar: "It sounds great that since 2012 there's been a - purportedly independent - ethical body with investigative and regulative powers. But what use is it if the chief investigator's findings are simply ignored? ... To prevent Blatter's re-election his opponents in the national associations must finally show some gumption and speak out. They exist, but they're afraid. Shortly before the World Cup in Brazil, a mini-revolution had already taken place in a hotel basement in Sao Paulo. Blatter was read the riot act - by DFB boss Wolfgang Niersbach among others - behind closed doors. ... If Blatter is re-elected by the 209 member nations, the status quo in international football will remain as it is."

Sheikhs and oligarchs gaining ground: The Fifa Ethics Committee has cleared Russia and Qatar of suspicions of having bought votes in the World Cup bidding process. It's a pity the reasons it gives for its decision don't hold water, the liberal business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore comments: "'There was no corruption, only suspicions'. With this statement the Fifa defended its decisions to have Russia host the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. ... The puzzling nature of this sentence is in itself enough to give an idea of the level of intrigues and silent 'practices' that are routine in the Fifa committee. Right from the beginning, the bidding process for the tournaments was overshadowed by intrigues. ... They have shifted the economic and sport balance in international football. The rich - Arab oil sheikhs and Russian oligarchs - are gaining ground."


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