€284m fees from SPVs for IFSC, taxing diesel, the Brexit mess, and Arnotts marks 175 years

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


Lawyers, accountants and bankers in Ireland are making big returns managing the hundreds of obscure special purpose vehicles. Professional firms here generated almost €284 million of fees from SPVs last year. The growing use of such entities by Russian groups has come into sharp focus as investors track risks relating to US sanctions. Joe Brennan reports.

The asset management arm of the French financial services giant Axa has entered the Irish private rented sector for the first time, taking a 50 per cent stake in a 1,173 residential property portfolio with Kennedy Wilson. It’s understood that Axa and Kennedy Wilson may add grow the portfolio of the joint venture in time.

A UK/EU free trade agreement and technical solutions to Border crossings would enable the UK to leave the single market and customs union “while preserving a frictionless border in Ireland”, according to a new paper published this morning by a UK think thank.

However, the interests of business are being pushed aside in the Brexit talks, warns Cliff Taylor. “Nonsensical catchphrases about the UK getting control of its own borders trump arguments about customs procedures, food safety checks and rules of origin. This is the Punch and Judy world of Conservative politics.” He calls for business and economic leaders to take hard Brexiteers to task as basic trade mechanics are overlooked.

Ahead of this evening’s announcement of The Irish Times Business Person of the Year, the nominees tell Fiona Reddan some of their secrets to success. For Glanbia boss Siobhán Talbot, it’s about not sweating the small stuff.

Dublin GAA has renewed American insurer AIG as its sponsor in a five-year deal estimated to be worth around ¤4 million.

Older Dublin fans will remember a time when the shirts were adorned with the name of Arnotts department store, which celebrates its 175th birthday this month. On Tuesday evening it formally unveiled an in-store collaboration with the Little Museum of Dublin, detailing the store’s history since 1843. Those attending included former member of staff, 94-year old Gerard Nolan, who began work as a postboy at Arnotts in 1942. He spoke to Mark Paul.

In commercial property, Nama is to sell a sizeable docklands site in Dublin city for €110 million, while Jack Fagan also reports on thesale of the Northside shopping centre in Coolock, Dublin 17 with an asking price of over €50 million.