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Thursday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - November 27, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Nov 27, 2014 - 1:21 PM

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Irish Independent

Househunters will not need a 20pc deposit when seeking a mortgage from January 1 because the Central Bank won’t meet its own deadline to enforce the new rule.

Plans to cap homeloans are to be pushed back but Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan insisted “we’re not hanging around”.

He said that the bank is still determined to introduce the restrictions, adding that they “would ensure that a credit-driven property bubble doesn’t take hold again”.

The delay gives some breathing space after new figures showed that property prices jumped by 16pc in October alone.

Experts said the huge rise was linked to first-time buyers scrambling to get into the market before the New Year.

Mr Honohan warned yesterday that sharp house price jumps of 42pc in Dublin in just 18 months could “sow the seeds of trouble for the future” unless a new regime was in place.

“We’d like to get these (changes) into effect as soon in the New Year as possible,” he said.

US antitrust regulators have approved a pair of major deals in the medical field, including Medtronic's purchase of Covidien, which will allow it to take advantage of tax breaks in Ireland.

The Federal Trade Commission said it would allow medical technology company Medtronic Inc's $42.9 billion deal to buy Dublin-based Covidien on condition that it sell its drug-coated balloon catheter business.

The commission also approved two parts of a three-way deal between GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Novartis AG, which reflects an industry trend in which companies focus on their strongest businesses.

The transaction, announced in April, calls for Britain's GSK to buy most of the vaccines business of Novartis, the Swiss company to purchase GSK's cancer drugs, and the two groups to team up in consumer healthcare.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker presented a plan today to leverage some €300bn of largely private new investment in the European Union, saying it was time to kick-start growth without adding to public debt.

Underlining the need to maintain efforts at structural reforms of aging economies and pare back debt and deficits run up during the financial crisis, the EU's new chief executive told the European Parliament in Strasbourg that his plan would be the third leg of a strategy to get Europeans back to work.

"Europe needs a kick-start and today the Commission is applying the jump leads," said Juncker, a conservative former prime minister of Luxembourg who took office this month.

Irish Times

Britain’s main political parties struck what they said was a historic deal to grant Scotland tax-raising powers and greater autonomy to try to satisfy disappointed separatists who lost an independence vote two months ago.

The deal, which will not be implemented until after a UK-wide parliamentary election next year, amounts to the biggest transfer of powers to Scotland from the United Kingdom since 1999 when a Scots parliament was set up.

Britain’s three main political parties promised to grant Scotland more powers in a last-ditch attempt to shore up support for the union days before a referendum in September in which Scots ultimately spurned independence.

In Ireland as well as the US, most of the talk and attention around president Barack Obama’s surprise move to legislate directly on the festering issue of immigration has been directed at the part that gives recognition to illegal immigrants.

But the part that is of greatest interest to Silicon Valley is Obama’s planned overhaul of the H1B work visa programme and the potential for an entrepreneur’s visa.

On a recent weekday, Saifi Ahlem caught a 5 am Metro to get to her job as a passengers’ assistant at Orly Airport, where she often works 44 hours a week - well over France’s official 35-hour work week.

That afternoon, she took a quick lunch break then headed to her second job, as a sales manager at the French hypermarket Carrefour, ending her day at 9 pm.

“France has a reputation for having lazy workers,” said Ahlem, 26. “But I’ve never worked just 35 hours. That would be like resting on my laurels.”

Irish Examiner

One of the country’s best-known developers, Gerry Gannon, has made a successful return to the house building business.

This follows a spokesman for Gannon Homes yesterday confirming that the firm has sold all of the 100 homes it has built this year and plans to more than double output in 2015.

Confirmation of the successful return of Mr Gannon’s firm to house building coincides with new accounts just filed by Mr Gannon’s Gannon Homes Ltd confirming a return to profit last year.

Accounts just filed by the firm for 2013 show that the firm’s accumulated losses narrowed by €8.1m from €143m to €134.9m.

Earlier this year, in a press interview, Mr Gannon — “the man in the hat” and one of the Maple 10 Anglo investors — confirmed his firm was recommencing building homes in north Dublin.

He said: “There is a recovery. We’re starting to build houses again in North Dublin. We’re building 500 houses in Swords.”

Europe

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday presented a 315-billiion euro investment plan for stimulating the EU economy. A large part of the money is to come from private enterprise, with the European Union providing just 21 billion. Brussels has come up with the right answer to the lethargy of certain member states, some commentators write in praise. Others believe the plan will fail due to a lack of incentives for investors.

Euro Topics: Private investments just wishful thinking: The EU budget will provide 16 billion euros and five billion more will come from the European Investment Bank. This is supposed to provide backing for 63 billion euros in loans for promising investments. Then private investors are expected to put forward another 252 billion euros. This investment plan is just wishful thinking, the conservative Slovenian daily Večer concludes: "Of the 315 billion euros only 16 billion will be made available from the EU budget. The rest is to come from private capital currently being produced on the financial markets. But why should private investors put their money in renewable energies, railway lines, broadband telecommunication networks and other European projects over the next three years when so far such projects haven't proven worthwhile for them? It's an illusion to believe that investors will give up the speculative transactions that have brought them huge profits overnight to invest their money in projects that can only produce profits in the long term."

Commission playing a risky game: The EU Commission is risking more in terms of its reputation than in terms of money, the liberal Belgian daily La Libre Belgique comments: "The European Commission is playing for a lot of money, but with low stakes. This strategy is more realistic than it is ambitious. And it is easy on the finances of the member states, even if they are being called on to participate in the fund. But the game is a risky one because failure would destroy trust in the Commission and hurt the European project, which will be further weakened if hopes are dashed. The member states still have to economise, and must sometimes introduce painful reforms. They're still paying a high price to recover from the crisis. The private sector must now shoulder its share of the responsibility."

Law must crack down on corrupt politicians: Spain's Health Minister Ana Mato is suspected of having profited from the illicit funds of the so-called Gürtel network and resigned for this reason on Wednesday. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy should learn from the case which has dragged on for years and announce stringent measures at today's parliamentary debate over anti-corruption measures, the conservative business daily Expansión recommends: "The long delay in the investigations has extended the impression among the people that the politicians receive special treatment from the judiciary. This has also happened with other particular notorious cases. Therefore Rajoy must set a maximum time limit for judicial preliminary proceedings. Moreover he must clearly define at which point politicians suspected of corruption must resign."


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