Labour walks out over Budget


SEEN & HEARD:Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore led Labour Ministers out of the Cabinet room last weekend as the Coalition experienced its most serious breakdown in relations over disagreements in the Budget, according to the Sunday Business Post.

It says the dispute was over a Fine Gael proposal to cut social welfare payments by 3 per cent in return for introducing a 3 per cent rise in the Universal Social Charge for people on incomes over €100,000.

Nama executive jumps ship

Nama executive Kevin Nowlan is leaving the State agency to rejoin his former employer, commercial property asset management firm WK Nowlan, as an adviser, according to the Sunday Independent.

The paper reports this is the second time in recent months that Nama has been left reeling over the departure of a key player to a company seeking to profit from the agency.

Liberty Mutual raises prices

Insurance firm Liberty Mutual is withdrawing 37 different lines of commercial insurance and raising prices for the remainder.

The Sunday Business Post reports the US insurer is seeking to restore order to the insurance book it took over from Quinn Insurance. It says Liberty will now insist on a minimum premium of €1,000 for commercial policies, with a €5,000 minimum for policies in high hazard trades.

Glad tidings for OpenHydro

French naval defence firm DCNS is preparing to take control of OpenHydro, the Irish tidal energy firm, according to the Sunday Times.

The deal puts a value of at least €175 million on the Co Louth firm, the paper reports.

DCNS already owns 11 per cent of OpenHydro and its board will meet within 10 days to vote on an option to increase its stake to 51 per cent, or even buy the company outright.

Diageo takes a shine to Beam

Drinks giant Diageo has held talks with the Japanese brewer Suntory about acquiring bourbon producer Beam for more than $10 billion, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The paper reports Diageo held the discussions with Suntory in the spring and summer on working together to buy US-based Beam. Diageo is interested in a limited range of Beam’s brands, including Jim Beam.