Seen & Heard: business news round-up

Is the a cut in the universal social charge on the way?

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: set to reduce the difference between the universal social charge paid by self-employed and PAYE workers, according to the Sunday Independent. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: set to reduce the difference between the universal social charge paid by self-employed and PAYE workers, according to the Sunday Independent. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The Sunday Independent said Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is set to reduce the difference between the universal social charge paid by self-employed and PAYE workers in the October budget. The paper also said a reduction the USC rates paid by all workers was in prospect.

The Sunday Independent also said Dalata, the hotel group, has plans in train to raise €150 million in coming weeks to fund the purchase of more hotels. The money will be raised by issuing new shares, the report said.

Also, according to the Sunday Independent, Kingspan chief executive Gene Murtagh made a profit approaching €3.6 million by exercising share options and then selling the stock.

The Sunday Times Ireland said financial sector representatives are questioning Central Bank demands for increases in excess of 40 per cent in industry funding. The paper said the industry bodies were unhappy that such an increase in funding would help the Central Bank tackle a pension deficit of some €300 million. The Irish Brokers Association and the Professional Insurance Brokers Association have written to Mr Noonan, who has yet to approve the increase in industry levies,.

The Sunday Times also said the top management team at Eircom was set to increase its stake in the telco to 15.43 per cent in a revamp of its management incentive plan. Such stake would be likely to valued at more than €150 million in any flotation or trade sale, the paper.

According to the Sunday Times, CRH is set to poach senior Bank of Ireland executive Senan Murphy for the post of chief financial officer in the building materials groups. The paper said Mr Murphy, who joined BofI from Ulster Bank , is expected to join CRH in January.

The Sunday Business Post said the Dublin Airport Authority plans a €1 billion “airport-style city” in north Dublin. The 15-year plan to develop a 3.2 million sq ft site will be centred on office accommodation, as well as hotels, cafés and recreational facilities. The report suggests the development, when complete, would be about three times as large as Dundrum Town Centre. The site in question used the headquarters of Aer Lingus. The initial phase includes a plan for four 100,000 sq ft buildings geared at domestic and multinational tenants who have encountered difficulties securing high-tech office space in central Dublin.

The Business Post also said the Revenue has started an investigation into special tax reducing vehicles used by som ewealthy individuals and large companies. The inquiry centres on Section 110 schemes, which help firms reduce their withholding tax liabilities. Revenue confirmed to the paper that inquiries are under way.

According to the Business Post, competition regulators have widened their examation of the sale of TV3 to Liberty Global. The paper said the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has exteded its investigation into the transaction with Liberty Global, which is controlled by US billionaire John Malone.