Selling debt; falling car sales; and a spanking new superferry

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

Volkswagen remained Irish car buyers favourite marque and diesel their fuel option of choice in 2017even with lower sales and despite the fallout of Dieselgate. Photograph:  Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

Volkswagen remained Irish car buyers favourite marque and diesel their fuel option of choice in 2017even with lower sales and despite the fallout of Dieselgate. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

 

Ireland is the first to market in 2018 as the NTMA looks to sell up to €4 billion in benchmark 10-year bonds as early as today, writes Joe Brennan. The move is in line with the NTMA strategy in recent years of being among the first out the gate each year in sovereign bond sales.

New car sales fell in 2017, according to figures released on Tuesday, but the decline was more than offset by a surge in the import of used vehicles. The industry is blaming the Brexit driven weakness of sterling for the 10.4 per cent slide in a year in which it had been expecting to report higher sales, writes Michael McAleer.

Irish Continental Group clearly sees opportunity in Brexit as it confirmed it will spend €165 million on what will be the biggest car ferry in the world for its Dublin-Holyhead route. Barry O’Halloran has the details on the investment that is scheduled to come on stream in 2020.

Tax avoidance is back in the spotlight as new filings show the scale of Google’s tax savings through the use of tactics including the Double Irish and the Dutch Sandwich. The search giant moved €15.9 billion to a Bermuda-based, Irish registered shell company in 2016, saving at least $3.7 billion in taxes that year, new regulatory filings in the Netherlands show.

Dublin-based Staycity, the short-term lettings group founded with just one Temple Bar property in 2004 is planning a tenfold increase in its Dublin portfolio as it announced a 25 per cent rise in turnover last year. Fiona Reddan has the details.

Ryanair is back in meetings with the Irish Airline Pilots Association today as it acclimatises to life as a company working with trades unions. Barry O’Halloran reports that negotiations over the shape of a formal union recognition document in Dublin will precede similar meetings this week in London and Germany, with Italian and Portuguese pilots also sitting down with the airline later this month.

Meanwhile, in his column, Cliff Taylor looks at the dilemma facing homebuyers. Despite projections for slower growth in prices this year, the cost of property will still comfortably outpace the increase in wages. Tight focus on Central Bank lending rules will be key to stopping a return of the housing bubble that crippled so many households a decade ago ...but that reduces even further the chances of first-time buyers getting on the housing ladder.