Davos voices, planning in Dublin and Ikea eyes another south Dublin location

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from ‘The Irish Times’ business desk

Cate Blanchett, goodwill ambassador, United Nations high commissioner for refugees, and Nicholas D. Kristof, columnist at New York Times, speak during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Photograph: Denis Balibouse / REUTERS

Cate Blanchett, goodwill ambassador, United Nations high commissioner for refugees, and Nicholas D. Kristof, columnist at New York Times, speak during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Photograph: Denis Balibouse / REUTERS

 

The man who wasn’t there dominated the opening session of the World Economic Forum conference in snowbound Davos, with business leaders clashing over the merits of US President Donald Trump’s tax reform package. Our reporter Joe Brennan is in Davos and he reports on Indian premier Narendra Modi’s keynote call for action on climate change and a defence of globalisation as well as economist Kenneth Rogoff’s concerns about lack of preparedness for any future financial crisis.

On the sidelines of the conference, a banker who advised the Government on the AIB flotation last June tells Joe Brennan that the markets are ready for more AIB shares. The Government has yet to decide when to reduce its stake in the bank again.

The increasing concentration of population and economic activity in and around Dublin is unsustainable, according to the ESRI which calls for the creation of a small number of second-tier cities, writes Eoin Burke-Kennedy.

Eoin also reports on AIB chief executive Bernard Byrne’s appearance before an Oireachtas committee examining the tracker mortgage scandal where the banker said its incorrect refusal to allow customers opt for such mortgages may have benefitted it to the tune of ¤100 million over a number of years.

On a lighter note, retail giant Ikea has been looking for a site in south Dublin for further expansion, writes Peter Hamilton. Meanwhile, Fiona Reddan reports that the Butler brothers, who own the Starbucks franchise in Ireland, are apparently not going to turn the iconic kiosk in Ballsbridge, which they now own, into another outlet for the US coffee chain.

In commercial property, Jack Fagan has details of a Cork group’s plans to turn a former Carmelite seminary in Donnybrook into a hotel after buying the property in a €16 million deal.

Staying with hotels, Tetrarch Capital has signed an agreement with the Royal Irish Automobile Club for a ¤35 million investment that will see it extend its Dawson Hotel as well as redevelop the neighbouring RIAC premises for the club on Dublin’s Dawson Street