Monday, February 18 08:12:48
Irish savers are likely to start following a trend that has seen investors in Britain and elsewhere combat low returns from instruments such as sovereign bonds by backing public infrastructure projects.
Savers can invest in projects such as renewable energy, education, healthcare and various public-private finance initiatives by buying into listed companies that specialise in lending to these projects.
Late last year, two London-listed companies, International Public Partnerships and GCP Infrastructure Investments, raised £180 million (E209 million) and £80 million respectively to fund growing demand for infrastructure funding.
The bonds allow savers to buy into the senior and subordinated debt provided to infrastructure projects, which are largely longer-term investments with predictable yields over the life of the loan. The Irish Times
Entrepreneurs are bringing their stories to third-level students in an effort to encourage more people to back themselves with new business ideas.
Previous winners and former finalists of the Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year programme will today launch "EOY University" at Trinity College, with Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn. The programme will involve successful business leaders across all disciplines getting involved in seminars and question-and-answer sessions with students across the country.
A pilot event in University College Cork recently attracted about 450 students, confirming for the entrepreneurs the value of the idea. The programme "has been developed to inspire Ireland's future entrepreneurs to think differently and explain through the experiences of the EOY entrepreneurial alumni that entrepreneurship is a suitable and honourable career choice," the group said in a statement. The Irish Times
Engaging with Chinese culture and customs can be rewarding for firms
Doing business in China can be encapsulated in one word, Gerry McQuaid, commercial director of Cubic Telecom told a Sino-Irish business seminar in Dublin.
The word is guanxi, which, in business terms, translates as connections. The seminar, part of the Dublin Chinese new year festival, saw Irish business people share their experiences of working and living there.
They had plenty of advice including: engage with the culture; ensure your business cards are in Mandarin and English; be punctual and always honour your commitments.
But each speaker's contribution came back to the same thing, which McQuaid sums up as "respect".
"It's a personal relationship and a personal commitment," he says, adding that these had to be more than just words. The Irish Times
Economists believe the Government may strike a deal to give Ireland more time to repay its E67.5bn of bailout loans at a meeting of European finance ministers on March 4.
"It's not unthinkable a decision could be taken [to extend the terms of the bailout loans] at that meeting - if not soon thereafter," said Conall MacCoille, chief economist with Davy. "Extending EU/IMF funding could reduce funding needs by E43bn." The Irish Independent
The Central Bank has raised a number of significant issues that could prevent the successful authorisation of the VHI as an insurer. In particular, it has questioned the effectiveness of the risk equalisation scheme under which the VHI is compensated for its older and more expensive customer base.
The European Commission has given the Government until the end of this year to have the VHI authorised or face sanctions including fines and a State aid inquiry. Authorisation would put the VHI on an equal footing with other insurers Aviva, Laya and Glo in terms of capital and solvency requirements. The Government may have to inject up to E200 million into the VHI to bring it into line.
At an initial meeting with the Central Bank last month, Department of Health officials and representatives of the VHI gave conflicting assessments of the effectiveness of the risk equalisation scheme. Under the scheme, other insurers levy their customers and pay the funds into a central pool from which the VHI receives a compensating payment. The VHI claimed the scheme was 55 per cent effective and that a revised scheme due to come into effect at the end of next month was marginally worse. The department claimed the scheme was 70 to 75 per cent effective and would be improved with the goal of being up to 90 per cent effective. The Irish Times