Wednesday, September 05 08:16:52
Tax revenue in the January-August period stood at just under E22.1 billion - E365 million (1.7 per cent) ahead of plans, according to figures published by the Department of Finance yesterday afternoon. The better-than-expected performance came despite a second consecutive month in which revenue undershot targets. In August, exchequer revenue stood at E1,761 million, 7 per cent below the month's target.
Since peaking in the early months of the year, growth in tax revenue has trended downwards. In the June-August period, tax revenue was below the same period last year. This is the first time since 2010 that a year-on-year decline in revenue has been registered for a three-month period. Although the negative trend has been exaggerated by timing issues surrounding corporation tax and pension-levy payments, even allowing for these factors there is some cause for concern that full-year targets may not be met.
On the spending side, the department said the underlying voted expenditure position in the first eight months of the year was just over E200 million (1.1 per cent) above limits set in the budget. Total voted spending stood at E29.6 billion in the January-August period. Of the 16 departmental budgets, 12 were within their budget limits for the year up to August. "Overruns in the social protection and health vote groups, which have been evident for much of the year, remain," the department said. In health, the underlying overrun in the first eight months of the year exceeded E250 million, while the social protection overrun reached E379 million. The Irish Times
Entertainment Enterprises, the entertainment and restaurant group run by brothers Colum and Ciaran Butler, has taken on the operation of all 27 Starbucks outlets in the Republic. Up to yesterday, the brothers operated 10 of the outlets under licence, with the US multinational directly operating the rest. The chain had just 19 stores in the Republic a year ago. It is intended that another will open shortly in the Stillorgan Shopping Centre, Dublin, also to be run by Entertainment Enterprises.
Staff were told the news yesterday. Starbucks-operated stores employ 210 staff. The number employed at the other stores is not known. There will be no job losses arising from the development. "The business in Ireland is on a strong footing and we see considerable potential to create jobs and growth by working with the Entertainment Enterprises group," said Starbucks' UK and Ireland managing director, Kris Engskov.
He said the brothers have the local expertise, track record, knowledge and skill to grow the business further. "We're long-term partners of Starbucks and are very excited to be taking on the expanded licensee role," the brothers said in a short statement. The Irish Times
Former European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said letters that he wrote to former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in the run-up to the 2010 bailout should not be made public. His comments follow a clamour from some Irish politicians and economists who believe the letters sent to Mr Lenihan contained threats that somehow forced him into a bailout. They now want the letters published.
Weekend media reports also suggested the letters contained threats but did not provide any quotations or evidence to back-up the assertions. Without seeing the letters, it is impossible to know whether the ECB was simply expressing concern about the safety of the tens of billions of euro the bank pumped into the Irish economy or something more sinister. No media outlet, government minister or ECB president has ever published the letters and the Department of Finance and ECB's freedom of information units have declined to release the letters. The Irish Independent
Treasury-Holdings controlled Real Estate Opportunities PLC (REO) has ceased trading, without even enough cash to appoint a liquidator. A notice circulated to investors says the business was forced to cease trading on August 21. REO was 70pc owned by Richard Barrett and Johnny Ronan's embattled Treasury Holdings Group but as a listed investment vehicle in its own right, small investors were also able to buy and sell shares in the business.
REO raised money to buy property assets that were then managed by Treasury, including at one stage the landmark Battersea Power Station site in London. In its final notice to investors REO said it was shutting down with immediate effect, unable even to appoint a liquidator to oversee the wind up of the business. "The company does not at present have sufficient funds available to it to fund a liquidation, but the directors will keep this and other options open and under constant review," the REO board said in its last communication to investors.
A source close to the company said REO had no assets left when the plug was pulled on August 21. The Irish Independent
DCC has signed a deal to buy Statoil's industrial LPG business in Sweden and Norway in a deal reckoned to be worth E16m to E20m. The deal will make Dublin-listed DCC the market leader in the region, the company said. It comes less than a month after the Irish company inked a E50m deal to buy BP's LPG distribution business in the UK. That deal is expected to close later this month. Both new units are likely to be rebranded to the DCC Flogas label.
The Norwegian takeover is expected to be completed in late 2012 or early 2013, once competition authorities approve the transaction. LPG, also known as propane, is used as fuel for heating and vehicles. DCC said the business it bought yesterday was a leading supplier of bulk LPG to industry in Sweden and Norway. DCC is already the number-one oil distributor in Sweden As part of the terms of the takeover, DCC has entered into long-term contracts to continue to supply LPG to seller Statoil. Shares in DCC closed up slightly at E21.15 each in Dublin following the news. The Irish Independent