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Tuesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - May 21, 2013
By Finfacts Team
May 21, 2013 - 9:37 AM
APPLE has been accused by two of America's most senior politicians
Ireland to help cut its global tax bill to almost zero.
The head of the world's biggest technology company faces a grilling in
Washington today over what politicians there claim are "gimmicks" used to get
around US tax laws.
Apple paid almost no tax on earnings of more than $100bn over four years, US
Senator Carl Levin and former presidential candidate John McCain claimed last
The news threatens to be the latest blow to this country's international
standing in the wake of UK investigations into Google's tax affairs.
One Apple subsidiary incorporated in Ireland paid no tax anywhere on a
staggering $30bn of revenue between 2009 and 2012, the senators claim.
IRELAND'S booming exports are seen as the main evidence that our bailout is the
only one that can be called a success.
In recent days, Bank of Ireland shareholder Wilbur Ross and the influential
Brussels-based think-tank Bruegel have highlighted structural strengths in the
Irish economy to differentiate the economy here from moribund rivals elsewhere
The proof for that is seen to be our ability to compete in international markets
by selling goods made here.
"The Irish programme seems to have been successful," Bruegel said in a report
looking at the effectiveness of bailouts.
"At the time of writing, Ireland is on track to exit the three-year programme
and regain access to financial markets on time, though subject to risks."
Apple and Google provide lots of fake exports through tax-related diversions of
US investor Kennedy Wilson has been named as the preferred bidder
to buy a €300m portfolio of Irish commercial property
being sold by creditors of the former Treasury Holdings.
Bondholders owed €375m secured on the properties will vote on the all-cash offer
from Kennedy Wilson in June after a sub-committee rejected rival shortlisted
bids from Britain's London & Regional and from Northwood Investors, a property
fund set up by former Blackstone real-estate head John Kukral.
The bids are for a portfolio of 16 buildings that include the Stillorgan
Shopping Centre in Dublin, Merchants Quay Shopping Centre in Cork, and a
plethora of high-end office blocks that include Bank of Ireland's headquarters
on Mespil Road, FAS's offices on Baggot Street, and KPMG's main Dublin offices.
Ryanair is in talks with Dublin Airport about the possibility of
launching new services from there – indicating a
possible thaw in relations between the two.
In its annual results statement yesterday, the airline said it was in “active
discussion with the new owners of Stansted Airport and the new management at
Dublin Airport” about the possibility of expanding services from either base by
September this year.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has consistently criticised the Dublin
Airport Authority (DAA) and its predecessor, Aer Rianta, over high charges and
aimed a number of broadsides at it and the Department of Transport in its 2012
However, deputy chief executive Howard Millar said yesterday that the airline
had met the DAA’ s new head, Kevin Toland, and Stansted’s new owners, Manchester
Innovation is key to kick-starting growth and helping economic
recovery, delegates were told at the Open Innovation
2.0 Conference in Dublin Castle yesterday.
The two-day programme brings together academics, business figures and
politicians, recognises leading innovators and features a free technology
showcase at the Mansion House.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton called on attendees to recognise the
transformative potential of innovative ideas.
“It’s not just about the money, it’s about innovation for society, for people”,
Mr Bruton added.
The backlash against corporate tax avoidance could end up costing
Britain jobs and investment, a treasury minister has
warned, as David Cameron outlined plans for international action on closing
loopholes at a meeting with Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman, and other business
The warning came as retailer
Marks & Spencer became the latest in a line of UK based companies to have the
spot-light shone on its tax-practices.
Exchequer secretary David Gauke
said the government was trying to attract investment by lowering the corporate
tax rate, despite growing debate over whether multinationals such as Google and
Starbucks pay enough UK tax.
The drive for greater tax
competitiveness had so far attracted very little public opposition, he said, but
this could change if anti-business sentiment hardened.
His comments came as Mr Schmidt
attended a meeting of the prime minister’s business advisory group, of which he
is a member, days after Google was accused by a parliamentary committee of
“devious, calculating and unethical” behaviour in its UK tax arrangements.
Mortgage lending slumped to €331m for the first quarter of this
year, well down on the €450m lent in the same period
The Irish Banking Federation/PwC Mortgage figures show that 2,068 new mortgages
were issued in the first three months of the year.
This compared with 6,043 issued in the final quarter of 2012, valued at €999m
and 2,630 mortgages with a value of €450m in the first three months of last
The study found that the key home purchaser segments of the market — first-time
buyers and mover purchasers — continue to dominate the market accounting for
over 80% of new mortgages issued. In effect, almost 90% of all mortgage credit
now goes to the home purchasing sectors of the market.
The IBF’s director of public affairs Felix O’Regan said: “The lower level of new
mortgage lending recorded in the first quarter comes as no surprise and has been
well flagged in the monthly approvals figures published by IBF during the
quarter. It reflects a front-loading of activity into Q4 2012, ahead of the
ending of mortgage interest relief, as well as the traditional seasonal weakness
generally seen at this time of year.”
Ireland may benefit from the increase in wages in
China as a growing number of companies look to bring manufacturing back to their
Hourly wages in China have increased by over 400%
since 2001 and, coupled with the time difference and an average shipping time of
six weeks, the attractiveness of manufacturing in the East may diminish for some
The Cork Electronics Industry Association will hear from Caroline Dowling,
president of integrated network solutions at Flextronics, who believes now is
the time to bring manufacturing industries back to Ireland.
“This is an ideal time for Ireland to harness the opportunity that re-shoring
presents,” she said.
“Manufacturing has evolved and we are continuously reinventing our business
processes in line with technological developments, client needs, and customer
“As the design and manufacturing process becomes more sophisticated,
customisation and final configuration closer to the market is desirable and
Enrico Giovannini, Italy's employment
minister, on Monday announced a €12bn plan – half coming from EU funds – to
create 100,000 jobs for people aged under 24 people,
as part of a plan to cut youth unemployment by 8 per cent.
The measures, which should be ready by June, will not include the reductions in
labour costs demanded by analysts and employers, but focus instead on easing
short-term contract regulations and partially undoing reforms introduced by
Mario Monti’s government.
With figures showing one in five young Italians is unemployed, the government is
trying to follow initiatives taken elsewhere in Europe, but the issue could
prove a divisive and dangerous one for the fragile coalition, warns La
Antonio Tajani is European commissioner
for industry, a sector that has been hit hard by the
crisis, and one which several member states are hoping will play a central role
in their recovery. On the sidelines of the International Journalism Festival in
he told presseurop about the EU’s recipe for economic recovery, the crisis
affecting the Union’s relationship with its citizens, and his vision for the
future of Europe.
says Europe is failing in the fight against youth unemployment. While the
German government's efforts remain largely symbolic, Southern European leaders
pander to older voters by defending the status quo.
Stylia Kampani did everything right, and she still doesn't know what the future
holds for her. The 23-year-old studied international relations in her native
Greece and spent a year at the University of Bremen in northern Germany. She
completed an internship at the foreign ministry in Athens and worked for the
Greek Embassy in Berlin. Now she is doing an unpaid internship with the
prestigious Athens daily newspaper Kathimerini. And what happens after that?
"Good question," says Kampani. "I don't know."
"None of my friends believes that we have a future or will be able to live a
normal life," says Kampani. "That wasn't quite the case four years ago."
Four years ago -- that was before the euro crisis began. Since then, the Greek
government has approved a series of austerity programs, which have been
especially hard on young people. The unemployment rate among Greeks under 25 has
been above 50 percent for months. The situation is similarly dramatic in Spain,
Portugal and Italy. According to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics
office, the rate of unemployment among young adults in the EU has climbed to
23.5 percent. A lost generation is taking shape in Europe. And European
governments seem clueless when they hear the things people like Athenian
university graduate Alexandros are saying: "We don't want to leave Greece, but
the constant uncertainty makes us tired and depressed."
Instead of launching effective education and training programs to prepare
Southern European youth for a professional life after the crisis, the
Continent's political elites preferred to wage old ideological battles. There
were growing calls for traditional economic stimulus programs at the European
Commission in Brussels. The governments of debt-ridden countries paid more
attention to the status quo of their primarily older voters. Meanwhile, the
creditor nations in the north were opposed to anything that could cost money.
In this way, Europe wasted valuable time, at least until governments were shaken
early this month by news of a very worrisome record: Unemployment among 15- to
24-year-olds has climbed above 60 percent in Greece.
Suddenly Europe is scrambling to address the problem. Youth unemployment will
top the agenda of a summit of European leaders in June. And Italy's new prime
minister, Enrico Letta, is demanding that the fight against youth unemployment
become an "obsession" for the EU.
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