Government ‘going back to the drawing board’ on 10% concrete levy

Seen & Heard: Fexco backs offshore wind; BoI on the hunt for chairman; and DAA’s billion-riyal Saudi deal

The Business Post reports that the Government has signalled to building industry figures that it is “going back to the drawing board” on its planned concrete block levy — and that the controversial measure will either be postponed or adjusted.

The planned 10 per cent levy on concrete blocks was unveiled last month under Budget 2023, as the Government seeks a contribution from the construction manufacturing sector to help pay a multibillion-euro scheme to rebuild homes which used substandard blocks containing mica. However, there was an immediate backlash, with the building industry claiming that it would delay projects and make new homes more expensive.

The Sunday Times agrees it will be delayed and the size of the levy will be cut.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is due to announce further details on the plan when the finance Bill is published on Thursday.


Fexco behind plans for world’s biggest offshore wind farm

Kerry financial services group Fexco is behind a plan to build the world’s largest wind farm off the west coast of Ireland, according to the Sunday Times.

The newspaper reports that the company’s chief executive, Neil Hosty, and chief financial officer, Gerard Murphy, are listed as directors of two companies behind plans to build a nine-gigawatt wind farm off the Galway, Mayo and Clare coast — a project that would cost up to €20 billion to develop.

The two companies are Atlantic Offshore Renewable Energy and Celtic Offshore Renewable Energy. The Republic does not have sufficient grid capacity for such a project, the report noted.

Bank of Ireland seeking headhunters for new chairman

The Sunday Times also reports that Bank of Ireland is preparing to hire international headhunting advisers to start looking for a new chairman next year as the incumbent, Patrick Kennedy, plans to step down in 2024.

Mr Kennedy has been on the bank’s board since 2010 and succeeded Archie Kane as chairman in 2018. The report said that search firms Egon Zehnder and Spencer Stuart are among the favourites for the gig.

DAA’s Saudi Arabia airport deal worth €273m

The Sunday Independent reported that a deal for DAA’s international arm to operate an airport in Saudi Arabia has been valued at around €273 million.

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Company, which signed up DAA International last year as the operator of its Red Sea International Airport, disclosed last week that the agreement covers operations and general maintenance services worth close to one billion Saudi riyals (€273 million), it said.

The airport is under construction in Hanak in northwestern Saudi Arabia. DAA International also won a multimillion-euro contract in March of this year to manage Jeddah Airport in Saudi Arabia.

Developers may sue planning board

Finally, several property developers are understood to be taking legal advice on whether to sue An Bord Pleanála after the planning appeals board conceded another raft of judicial review cases. The Sunday Times reports that the developers will be looking to recover planning fees and accumulating finance costs in connection with delayed planning permissions.

The planning board is already facing hefty fines over delays in dealing with planning applications. It has been liable to pay €10,000 to developers where it takes more than 16 weeks to make decision on fast-track applications.