INM and the Central Bank, €600m for Mainstream and no pay rise for BofI managers

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

The Central Bank of Ireland could be behind  a third State investigation into INM. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Central Bank of Ireland could be behind a third State investigation into INM. Photograph: Alan Betson


Independent News and Media (INM) is facing a possible third State investigation, this time by the Central Bank under market abuse rules, Mark Paul reports this morning. The publishing company is already under investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Data Protection Commission.

And as INM’s legal issues with the ODCE rumble on, Colm Keena breaks down the five issues that divide the sides, outlining each party’s position on the different points.

It has been a good week for Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream Renewable Power, the green energy group that has sold a wind farm project off the Scottish coast to French utilities giant Electricité de France (EDF) for a price understood to be in excess of €600 million. Joe Brennan reminds us that a similar deal to sell the asset for just €100 million only two years ago was abandoned.

Joe also reports on moves afoot at Bank of Ireland to hold back from pay increases for most of its middle and senior management. The bank is seeking to cut 15 per cent of staff on these grades.

Barry O’Halloran brings news of a decision by Alltech, the brewing and food ingredients group founded by the late Dr Pearse Lyons, to close a US factory on which it has spent close to €180 million over eight years. A spokeswoman said the Kentucky facility had served as a “pilot plant” for work on new types of animal feed.

As summer seems to finally be on its way, Mark Paul reports on apparent tensions between the tourism industry and Fáilte Ireland, the State agency responsible for the industry’s development, over a call by an industry group for a “fundamental review of the role and functions” of the agency.

In the same sector, this week’s Business Interview is with David Kelly, who heads FBD Hotels and Resorts, owner of properties including the Castleknock Hotel in Dublin and Faithlegg House in Waterford. Kelly tells Peter that insurance costs are the business’s biggest bugbear, perhaps an irony for a group that was previously owned by insurance group, FBD.

In his weekly economics column,John FitzGerald examines immigration and its role in expanding the growth potential of the economy. Specifically, he cautions against making mistakes that could easily turn immigration policy successes into failures.

Mark Paul looks to the UK and its 14 overseas territories in Caveatthis week, asking how a decision to direct locations such as the Cayman Islands to publicly list all company ownerships by 2020 might affect the Irish business world.

Finally, does your workplace apply too many silly rules to the way you behave while on the job, perhaps banning eating at your desk, or insisting that you wear no glittery make-up? Olive Keogh finds that tiny inconveniences such as this can easily turn into reasons for resignation.

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