Seen and Heard: AIB eyes incentives for developers, landlords and empty nesters

Actavo job cuts; new names on rich list; flooding insurance

Housing document

AIB will target "empty nesters" to downsize their properties in a bid to "free up under-utilised family houses" on the market, reports the Sunday Independent, citing an internal AIB document titled Housing Supply in Ireland.

The Sunday Business Post splashed on the same document, leading with the bank's call on the Government to cut taxes for property developers and landlords, a move it says is necessary to tackle the housing crisis. AIB also suggests an expansion of the Help to Buy scheme to include the availability of equity loans to potential buyers.

Actavo cuts


Actavo, an engineering services group majority-owned by Denis O'Brien, has reduced its workforce by almost 1,200 people in recent months, reports the Sunday Times, with the newspaper citing the drying up of a number of contracts.

The company, formerly known as Siteserv, confirmed that its workforce had fallen by almost 20 per cent, but said the number of staff that were laid off was "low". The Sunday Business Post also reported on staff cuts at Actavo, placing the number at 1,000.

Rich list

Tommy Kelly of international ecommerce site eShopWorld, is the highest new entry on the Sunday Independent's Rich List, with an estimated wealth of €150 million. This placed him ahead of another new entry, mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor, whose fortune is estimated at €140 million.

The list of the 250 wealthiest people in Ireland is headed by the Mistry family, who have an estimated fortune of €15.6 billion, thanks to their large stake in conglomerate Tata.

Flooding row

The Central Bank of Ireland has raised concerns about Fianna Fáil plans to force insurance companies to restore cover for flooding in areas where relief schemes have been put in place by the Office of Public Works (OPW), according to the Sunday Times.

The proposed legislation risks raising insurance premiums or reducing the quality of cover for all, the bank says, and may be in breach of European law.

INM investor

Serial Irish investor Nick Furlong now holds 3 per cent of the shares in Independent News & Media through his company Pageant Holdings, reports the Sunday Business Post. Filings on Friday to the Irish Stock Exchange show that Pageant has 42 million INM shares, worth about €3.8 million at Friday's closing share price.

This makes Pageant the fourth largest investor in INM, behind Denis O'Brien, Dermot Desmond and investment firm Marathon.

Market Bar move

Music impresario John Reynolds has agreed a refinancing deal for Dublin's Market Bar after facing a legal threat from a US investment fund, reports the Sunday Times. CarVal issued proceedings on January 3rd to pursue Reynolds and Mercroft Taverns, the Market Bar's holding company, the newspaper says.

A subsidiary of CarVal sought a summary judgment and retained a legal firm that specialises in debt collection. Mercroft said it had secured funding to refinance the facility.