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Wednesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - November 19, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Nov 19, 2014 - 12:02 PM

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Irish Independent

THE leader of the country's largest union has predicted a wage "explosion" with thousands of workers lodging claims for pay rises if economic growth continues to soar.

Siptu General President, Jack O'Connor, whose union represents over 200,000 employees, said he expects far more pay increase demands to be served on employers next year than were made this year.

His comments came as Bank of Ireland staff yesterday voted to accept a 3.7pc pay rise in addition to a 5pc one-off bonus in what is tipped as the start of a wider demand for an increases in bank pay.

Yesterday, the Irish Bank Officials Organisation (IBOA) said it is now in talks with AIB and Ulster Bank, after agreeing the new deal at Bank of Ireland

AIB shares staged a late recovery yesterday, as some investors appeared to set financial reality aside to buy stock in what had been a falling market.

Shares in AIB had fallen by almost a fifth to 7.2 cents each in early trading.

Along with steep falls on Monday, it meant that around €16bn of notional value has been wiped out.

Yesterday, AIB issued a statement to the markets that stopped just short of calling for shares to fall in price, but warned that the bank's stock trades on a valuation multiple that works out at around six times its net asset value as of June 30.

A price roughly equal to net asset value is the median for European banks, it said.

On Monday the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, warned that shares in the bank were overvalued by the markets - prompting the current sell off.

Irish-American businessman John Malone has agreed terms to buy the Limerick Strand Hotel in the city for close to €20m.

Mr Malone, who controls cable supplier UPC through his conglomerate Liberty Global, has already bought a number of hotels in Ireland over the past three years.

The include the Westin Hotel in Dublin for €60m, the Trinity City Hotel in Dublin for €30m and Humewood Castle for €8m.

The four-star Limerick Strand Hotel was developed at a cost of €40m in 2007. It was built on the site of the former Jurys Hotel and is part of a wider project by developer John Lally through his company Lalco.

The business, which caters to a wide range of customers, is believed to have made a profit of about €1.5m last year.

Irish Times

Enda Kenny is trying to do a Moses today.

He needs to part the raging reds’ sea and lead his frightened and exhausted coalition through walls of Irish Water to a better place.

The Taoiseach has left it very late: he’ll need a bit of a miracle to pull this one off.

We should know by this evening if his Government has done enough to reach a safe haven. After that their journey is just beginning.

Will the anger of a nation – fed-up and beaten down by an accumulation of costs and cuts – subside sufficiently with the introduction of a greatly reduced charging system?

Or is the blood up now, whatever they do?

The Cabinet has agreed a package of measures designed to put to bed the controversy over discretionary medical cards that dogged the Government parties earlier in the year.

The new approach includes a return to local assessment of some discretionary medical cards, the removal of the requirement for people with terminal illnesses to renew their cards every 12 months and improvements to the way the Health Service Executive processes applications to make the system more humane and compassionate.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and Minister of State for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch will publish the full details next week after briefing patient and other health groups. They will also publish the Keane report on awarding medical cards on the basis of medical need and a Prospectus report on the processing of medical cards by the HSE.

France’s national financial prosecutor opened a preliminary investigation into possible insider trading at BNP Paribas, the country’s biggest bank.

The investigation started in early November and it’s too soon to determine which individuals may be involved, said a spokesman for the Paris-based prosecutor’s office.

Prosecutors could drop the investigation if they don’t find any wrongdoing.

BNP Paribas was fined a record $8.97 billion in June for violating US trade sanctions on countries including Iran, Sudan and Cuba.

French weekly Le Canard Enchaîné reported that prosecutors are examining stock sales by senior BNP officials during 2013, a time when US authorities were looking into the bank’s dealings with banned countries. The paper didn’t say where it got the information.

Irish Examiner

Higher revenues and larger workforces are on the way in 2015, according to a survey of more than 800 businesses carried out yesterday.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers carried out its Business Barometer at its annual forum at Dublin’s Convention Centre.

It revealed that almost 90% of business leaders expect revenue growth next year and that 60% of businesses plan to grow their workforce in the coming 12 months.

PwC head of assurance Kevin Egan said the results indicate a shift among many businesses towards a more growth-focused agenda as the economic recovery begins to lift some companies out of a difficult number of years.

“The survey points to growing confidence in Irish business. It is good news that business leaders are confident about growing their workforce. Improving profitability and addressing skills shortages are key priorities for business leaders in 2015,” Mr Egan said.

Europe

Five people were killed on Tuesday in an attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the attack and ordered the demolition of the homes of the assailants. Hardliner Netanyahu is partially to blame for the escalation, some commentators write. Others call on Abbas to end his alliance with the radical Islamist Hamas.

Euro Topics:  Israel's occupation policy caused escalation: Although the attack on the Jerusalem synagogue must be strongly condemned the Israeli government is also to blame for the escalating violence, the left-liberal daily The Guardian argues: "Binyamin Netanyahu has failed to show Palestinians any kind of political horizon. He shows them no route by which they might reach independence or even an end to occupation. In the absence of such a political path, the men of violence prosper. It is true that Netanyahu is surrounded by cabinet hardliners who would go further than he would, annexing large swaths of the West Bank tomorrow. But he needs to think beyond the mere maintaining of his coalition and his own job. He needs to lead, and point the way out of a situation that is intolerable - and lethally dangerous - to both peoples."

Israel facing third intifada: The unresolved Palestine issue threatens to trigger a third intifada, the Catholic Italian daily Avvenire warns in view of the attack on the synagogue in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighbourhood: "The likelihood of a third intifada grows with each hour that passes. But do Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas still have the power to stop the wave of terror and defuse the bombs of an asymmetrical guerilla war? Can Hamas, which is politically isolated but adamant that it won't give up control in the Gaza Strip, really contribute to a peaceful solution to the conflict? ... It is the duty of the major democracies of the European community, America and our country to intervene immediately and contribute to a solution of the conflict over Palestine. Undaunted and in the knowledge that left to themselves the protagonists will never find a solution."

Muslims must focus on science: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a speech on Saturday that America was not discovered by Columbus, but three hundred years before that by Muslims. Renowned historians back this view but it shouldn't lead to false conclusions, columnist Taha Akoyl writes in the conservative daily Hürriyet: "In view of today's cultural problems I see little point in boasting about the Muslim's wonderful historical feats. Instead of praising our past achievements it is far more important and necessary to ask and research why the Muslims have moved so far away from these amazing scientific and philosophical feats. ... Why have the times when the Muslim culture was the pioneer in science and philosophy ended, and why has the Muslim world sunk into fanaticism and backwardness? ... Returning our focus to science is the only way to improve the honour and reputation of Islam."


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