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News : International Last Updated: Jun 23, 2014 - 1:50 PM


Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - June 23, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Jun 23, 2014 - 12:23 PM

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Irish Independent

EUROPEAN Union anti-fraud investigators have been alerted in relation to €500,000 in suspected irregular payments at one of the country's leader companies.

"The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) is the Paying Agency for the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme and in accordance with EU requirements carries out audits in respect of processes and expenditure in Local Development Companies that are under contract to deliver the programme locally," a spokesman said.

"The minister and department are fully committed to the delivery of the LEADER programme in accordance with all EU requirements and to the benefit of communities throughout the country."

EIRGRID has announced proposals to build part of the controversial Grid West pylon project underground.

The move comes after the Government ordered the national grid operator to consider the undergrounding all or part of the 113km project planned between Roscommon and north west Mayo.

Since January, EirGrid has identified a number of possible underground routes for the project from north-west Mayo to both Flagford and Cashla in Galway, which includes an underground route running from north-west Mayo to Flagford.

The work has been carried out in consultation with local authorities in Mayo, Roscommon and Galway, as well as the National Roads Authority and other relevant agencies.

The overground line is set to cost €240m, but an underground option would be more expensive. Electricity customers pay the cost of infrastructure through their bills, but not until the end of the year will the amount needed to build the line emerge.

An Irish subsidiary of the world's largest aircraft leasing firm paid tax in Ireland of less than 1pc on profits of €637m last year.

Accounts just filed for GE Capital Aviation Funding showed the firm posted pre-tax profits of $866.5m (€637.2m) in the 12 months to the end of last year. The returns show that the tax on the profits was $257,000 (€202,000) – an effective rate of less than 1pc.

The accounts for 2013 state that the firm would have been liable for a tax bill of $108.3m based on the Irish corporate tax rate of 12.5pc.

However, the firm availed of group relief totalling $95.39m and non-taxable items totalling $13.375m contributing to a tax charge of $260,000.

The tax charge for the year was calculated at such a low level as a result of an over-provision of tax of $3,000 in 2012.

The pre-tax profit of $866m for the US-owned subsidiary of General Electric makes the company one of the most profitable public and private limited companies in the country. Revenues came in at a little over €800m.

Recruitment firm ChinaHR has announced a €30m investment in China as part of a trade mission to the region.

The company’s core Chinese business is forecast to grow by 60pc this year, having placed 1m jobs and the investment will be largely in its technology which is being ramped up to target the growing smartphone and tablet recruitment market as job seekers change their search habits.

Funds will also be used to expand staffing levels at the company.

ChinaHR, formerly Saon, sold its European operations to Stepstone for around €76m last year

Businessman Denis O'Brien owns 75pc of the recruiter, and Leslie Buckley the other 25pc.

"The Chinese economy is still strong, growing at approximately 7pcper annum," said Leslie Buckley, chairman of the company.

"This is good news for ChinaHR, as we continue to develop the future growth of the business."

Irish Times

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has confirmed that reversing the property tax will be a bottom-line issue for the party to enter a coalition government.

However, he refused to say if a 48 per cent rate of tax for those earning €100,000 or more would be a deal-breaker.

Over the weekend Mr Adams told a Sinn Féin meeting the party needs to begin preparing for government and getting its policy priorities right.

Outlining the party’s strategy, he told RTE this morning this will mean developing and working out where best it can stand in preparing candidates and also changing mindsets.

“We want to be in government and we want to be ambitious for change,” he said.

He said Sinn Féin would not go into government like Labour did and provide a cover for conservative parties.

“Let’s get ready to be in government and let’s work out the terms.”

John McManus: Does anyone still think we are going to do a deal with Europe on our legacy bank debt? Hardly a week goes by that some European official or politician doesn’t rule it out and the Government, normally in the form of “That link has never been made to me and I am a few years going out to Europe,” Noonan said.

On Wednesday Noonan followed up by telling the Oireachtas finance committee that we would be making an application to the new ESM for some money once it is established in November. He was vague about the timing.

“There’s always a whether about the timing, and we’ll take advice on that, and that’s the position we’re in,” he said, whatever that means.

On Thursday the head of the eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, poured yet more cold water on the idea that we might get some debt relief. “Technically speaking it would be possible. Politically it would be difficult,” he said following an annual general meeting of the ESM’s board of governors in Luxembourg.

The life sciences sector is awash with M&A activity this year with one proposed megadeal swiftly following another.

The frenetic activity is not confined to the companies themselves, or just their executives and shareholders. It has been a veritable feeding frenzy for the dealmakers, the advisers who line up behind each side in any proposed takeover.

However, the particularly tetchy battle between serial acquirer Valeant Pharmaceuticals and its latest target, Botox and eyecare group Allergan – a $53 billion deal, if successful – has thrown a harsh light on some of the tactics employed by investment banks pursuing lucrative advisory contracts.

Allergan this week released a chain of emails which show that Morgan Stanley – since hired as an adviser to Valeant – had initially tried to get hired by Allergan for its defence team and, in its pitch, called the unsolicited bidder a “house of cards”.

In an email to Allergan’s top executives, Morgan Stanley’s global head of M&A Robert Kindler reportedly said the company could be more aggressive in going after Valeant’s business model and the value of its stock.

Irish Examiner

One of the European Central Bank’s chief decision-makers has all-but ruled out any rise in the eurozone’s key benchmark interest rate — from its current record low — for at least two years.

ECB Governing Council member and Austrian National Bank chief Ewald Nowotny told his country’s largest newspaper at the weekend that as the recovery in the eurozone was still at an early stage, it remains unlikely the ECB will increase its rates until 2016, when it is hoped more sustainable economic growth will be evident.

In an interview with the Vienna-based Krone Zeitung, Mr Nowotny said the eurozone economy is only showing signs of green shoots at present.

“Interest rates will turn as soon as there is clear growth; so more than 2%. But from today’s perspective, that will hardly be before 2016,” he said.

The ECB has already forecast that the eurozone economy will grow at a rate of between 0.5% and 3.1% between now and 2016.

Europe

Euro Topics: At a meeting in Paris on Saturday the EU's leading Social Democrats agreed to back Jean-Claude Juncker for the post of European Commission president. In return they want top EU posts and a relaxing of the Stability Pact. Commentators see this as a victory for Angela Merkel and believe it will further weaken the British government.

Ukip benefits from London's powerlessness: The inability of the government to represent Britain's interests on the EU level will only strengthen the Eurosceptics in the UK, the conservative paper The Sunday Times fears: "From the treaty of Rome onwards and France's successful defence of its agricultural interests, other countries have been adept at protecting their key sectors. Britain in recent years has not. A report tomorrow from the Business for Britain campaign will say that since the financial crisis Britain has been unable to prevent a concerted EU push against what was seen as Anglo-Saxon 'light-touch' regulation. ... Britain's loss of influence in Europe is central to Ukip's [Eurosceptical] agenda. It is not clear that any of the mainstream parties, including the Tories, have a response to it."

No to horse trading backed by Europe's left: The socialist heads of state and government are demanding too high a price for supporting Jean-Claude Juncker, the left-liberal Austrian daily Die Presse believes: "François Hollande and above all Matteo Renzi want political compensation before they vote for Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission president. Specifically, they're after nothing less than (yet another) break with the stability pact. ... The much talked-about ruinous austerity is not really a consequence of the stability course. The difficult financial crises in Southern Europe were not triggered by the strict austerity or stability policy. Quite the opposite: they were caused by public and private financing on credit and absurd speculation. ... If Juncker and/or the Christian Democrats agree to such a horse trade, the EU may as well hand in its resignation. Because then it would be politically - and economically - unreliable."

Merkel can no longer count on Cameron: In the row over the future Commission president, highly indebted EU members France and Italy are calling for an easing of the Stability Pact. For German Chancellor Angela Merkel it's annoying that she won't be able to count on the UK's support in the fight to prevent a relaxing of the sovereign debt limits, the German public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk comments: "After next week's summit Cameron will return to London with nothing more than the assurance that he did everything he could to prevent Juncker from becoming Commission president - in vain. Merkel doesn't share the glee of those looking forward to Cameron's defeat in the Council. The chancellor needs the British more than ever as an ally against an easing of the Stability Pact. She won't sacrifice Jean Claude Juncker for this cause."

Football sedates the world: The hype surrounding the Fifa World Cup is opium for the people, writes French philosopher and former education minister Luc Ferry in the conservative daily Le Figaro: "This is too much, far too much, and it's becoming unbearable. First and foremost on the part of the media, who share in the feast like hogs at the trough. Then, afraid to miss out on anything, the politicians spout pseudo-enlightened comments that highlight their demagoguery rather than their intelligence. And finally there are the fans, who shine neither for their taste nor for their sense of hope, and instead make a show of their chauvinism, which is as impressive as their ability to guzzle beer. Let's let the storm pass, since there's no other option. But you can bet your last euro that the awakening will be all the ruder."


© Copyright 2011 by Finfacts.com

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