Seen and Heard: Coalition hopes ‘big bang’ will pave way for re-election

Owen Killian of Aryzta comes under pressure from institutional investors

Budget to reduce USC

The Government plans to devote “almost its entire budget for tax-cutting” to a reduction at all levels of the universal social charge, according to the Sunday Business Post. The paper reports that the

Coalition hopes this “big bang” approach will pave the way for its re-election, and the approach is favoured over earlier plans to tweak the allowances, bands and rates surrounding income tax.

Irish Water site hacked

The Sunday Business Post also reports that A9 Business Recovery Services, a tech

nology security company backed by Denis O’Brien, is being paid by Irish Water to protect it from “severe” cyber attacks. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act say A9 has proved “invaluable to Irish Water in instances where attempts have been made to hack the . . . website”. Up to six serious incidents were identified in less than five months.

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Aryzta chief under pressure

The Sunday Times reports that Owen Killian, the chief executive of food company Aryzta and one of the highest-paid Irish executives in recent years, is coming under pressure from institutional investors over issues including corporate governance. Société Générale said in a note last week that it is "hard to imagine that investor sentiment could get much worse on Aryzta" following a 50 per cent share price fall.

D2 Private eyes portfolio

It is also reported in the Sunday Times that D2 Private, the company of property investor Deirdre Foley, is "the frontrunner" to buy a number of properties adjacent to Clerys

store in Dublin. Ms Foley is an investor in the Natrium consortium that bought and closed Clerys in June. The paper speculates Ms Foley could attempt to integrate the Spire portfolio properties into a redevelopment of Clerys.

Warning on appliances

Sean O'Driscoll, the chief executive of Glen Dimplex, has warned in the Sunday Independent that the manufacturers of appliances in a range of industries are overstating their energy efficiency similar to the way Volkswagen has with its car emissions.

Investors short Tullow

The Sunday Independent also reports that four major institutional investors have taken short positions on Tullow Oil, effectively betting its share price will fall further. Oxford Asset Management, Worldquant, Man Investments and Capital Fund Management have reported short positions. About 7.5 per cent of Tullow's stock is being held on short positions.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column