Monday, February 04 08:07:25
The ESB managed to slash its pension deficit by about E1.89bn in just four years.
The commercial semi-state had a E1.96bn black hole in its contributory scheme in 2008, but that was reduced to E72m by the end of 2011.
Given the sheer scale of the deficit, the company has been trying to plug the hole in recent years by closing it to new members and freezing pay and benefits.
The contributory scheme was similar to a public service pension and was funded from contributions from members and the company.
Management at the semi-state and unions have struck a deal where deductions were reduced with the roll-out of Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) from January last year, a pension and pay freeze until 2014 and 2012 respectively and the capping of any future increases in pensions at 4pc.
All future increases in pensions paid will also be dependent on the solvency of the ESB scheme.
The Pensions Board approved a funding proposal in October, submitted by the trustees of the ESB scheme, changing the scheme from a defined benefit to a defined contribution. The Irish Independent
Tax revenue paid by Ireland's international financial services companies fell in 2012 as the sector continued to suffer in the global financial downturn.
According to provisional figures compiled by the Revenue Commissioners, companies operating in international financial services throughout Ireland paid corporation tax of E456 million in 2012, a decrease of E10 million, or 2 per cent, on 2011. Companies operating in the sector employ some 33,000 people.
Corporation tax is paid by financial services firms on trading income, indicating total profits of E3.7 billion among such firms in 2012 based on a tax rate of 12.5 per cent. This is a reduction of E80 million, or 2 per cent, on the previous year. The reduction in tax take might also be due to companies carrying forward losses from previous years and using them to offset tax liabilities in 2012.
At its peak in 2009 the combined International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and international financial services sector paid some E1.4 billion in corporation taxes, but since then profits have fallen in line with the global financial crisis. The significant reduction is due in part to a reclassification of the statistics by the Revenue.
With the end, in December 2010, of the 10 per cent tax regime that facilitated the launch of the IFSC in 1987, it is no longer possible for the Revenue to distinguish between corporation tax paid solely on IFSC activities and on other income, so some companies are no longer included in the data. An exception is made in the case of the main associated banks, where an estimate of the tax paid by them on their IFSC activities is derived from indicative data.
In 2012 the sector contributed some 10 per cent of total corporation tax revenue, down from 16 per cent in 2010. Banking and associated activities such as securitisation and investment in asset-backed securities have been the hardest hit sectors. Assets fell by more than a third from a high of E540 billion in February 2008 to E338 billion in November 2012, the most recent figures. The Irish Times
Irish Stock Exchange chief executive Deirdre Somers has said the Government needs to consider ways of incentivising young companies here to go public, rather than selling out to trade players, as they seek to scale up their businesses.
Ms Somers has also told The Irish Times the Government should consider listing State assets on the stock market rather than selling them via auctions or trade sales.
Ms Somers said changes to our tax code and a stated Government policy to support the scaling of Irish enterprise were urgently needed to produce the next generation of Irish listed companies to take up the torch from the likes of Kerry Group, Paddy Power and Ryanair.
She called for the Government to establish a "dedicated group to address the IPO [initial public offering] challenge" as part of its action plan for jobs.
Ms Somers said an IPO task force was established in the US to find ways to stimulate activity and its findings were implemented by President Barack Obama in the recent jobs act. The Irish Times
The State's bailed-out banks are well on track to meet the Central Bank's target for slimming down assets to clear debt by the end of this year, figures show.
Bank of Ireland, AIB and Permanent TSB are required to deleverage E70bn worth of assets by December 31, 2013, under Central Bank targets, including actively disposing of E34bn worth.
The banks have been told to 'delever' or reduce their debts, including by selling off assets and by making sure that loans are repaid faster than new loans are made.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said total deleveraging was at E66.5bn at the end of October 2012.
Mr Noonan said both Bank of Ireland and AIB were on track to meet their targets for the end of this year.
But Permanent TSB's programme has been postponed pending the European Council's decision on its restructuring plan.
"Deleveraging to date has been achieved within average planned assumed discounts," Mr Noonan said, in response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail's Sean Fleming.
"Remaining deleveraging is anticipated to be achieved through run-down and work-out of non-core loan books over time. The asset-disposal programmes have been largely completed." The Irish Independent