Euronext demands tax changes to prevent departure of Smurfit Kappa

Seen & Heard: FAI funding crisis, green light for Johnny Ronan apartment block, AIB facing discount on shopping centre loans

FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill: Sport Ireland is withholding State withholding funding amid concerns over aspects of Hill's pay deal. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Euronext Dublin has urged the Government to change Ireland’s tax laws as it launches a last-ditch attempt to prevent Smurfit Kappa from becoming the latest Irish giant to quit Dublin’s capital markets.

As reported by the Business Post, the operator of the Irish Stock Exchange has written to Minister for Finance Michael McGrath demanding that the 2023 Finance Bill be amended as a matter of “urgency” to include a stamp duty exemption for companies with dual listings in Ireland and the US, as well as significant tax credits for companies that are launching an initial public offering (IPO) in Ireland.

Euronext Dublin has told the Minister that introducing the stamp duty exemption is the only way it will be able to try to convince Smurfit Kappa, the paper and packaging company, not to exit Ireland as part of an agreed merger with WestRock in the US.

FAI funding crisis

The Business Post also reports that the FAI has been plunged into a fresh funding crisis over a pay deal for chief executive Jonathan Hill.


The paper reported on Friday evening that Sport Ireland is withholding State funding from the FAI over concerns regarding compliance with rules governing its chief executive’s pay. The concerns centre around commuting expenses and payments in lieu of annual leave made as part of Mr Hill’s overall pay packet.

On Sunday the Business Post reported that a multimillion-euro Government bailout of the FAI now hangs in the balance. Thomas Byrne, junior Minister with responsibility for sport, has said there will be no discussion about the extension of the State supports out to 2026 until the matter is resolved.

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Height clearance for Johnny Ronan

Developer Johnny Ronan has been given the green light to build Dublin’s tallest building on the North Quays, bringing an end to a years-long battle with authorities over height restrictions.

The Sunday Times Ireland reports that Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) has been granted planning for a “signature apartment block” with 25 floors at the Waterfront South Central site on the North Quays.

The decision made by Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála means that the apartment block will be more than twice as high as the 10-storey cap in the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock planning scheme.

The approval marks a concession for both sides given Ronan applied in 2019 for a 44-storey block with 1,005 apartments across the site.

Shopping centre loans discounted

The Sunday Times Ireland also reports that AIB is facing a haircut of up to 20 per cent on the sale of loans advanced to two of Dublin’s largest shopping centres, Blanchardstown shopping centre and the Square in Tallaght.

The debt sale went to second-round bids last week, with four credible bids received in the first round, according to property industry sources. Offers were said to be at 80 cent on the euro.

AIB started the process of offloading the loans in September, as respective owners of the shopping centres try to sell the properties.

AIB’s loan on the Blanchardstown centre has a face value of €175 million. Meanwhile, OCM Luxembourg Square Retail, a vehicle owned by Oaktree Capital Management which owns the Tallaght mall, owed the bank €191 million at the end of 2021.

Ellen O'Regan

Ellen O’Regan

Ellen O’Regan is a former Irish Times journalist.