OECD hails Portugal’s austerity measures

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has hailed the austerity measures announced by Portugal to bring its budget deficit back in line with European Commission rules, saying they will help to support the country’s growth. The Portuguese Government released a fiscal consolidation plan earlier this week through which it aims to bring the country’s budget deficit to 2.8pc of GDP by 2013 from its current level of 9.3pc of GDP. The measures being adopted include spending cuts, such as social-welfare cuts and a reduction in public-sector job creation, and tax rises, including the introduction of a new rate of 45pc tax rate for those earning over €150,000 annually. The…

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Portugal joins Greece in austerity measures

Portugal has joined Greece in announcing a series of austerity measures aimed at cutting its level of public debt. Portugal’s finance minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos (pictured) made the announcement today as the country attempts to head off a debt crisis similar to that currently swamping Greece. The austerity measures proposed include social-welfare cuts and a reduction in public-sector job creation. Teixeira dos Santos also intends introducing a new rate of 45pc tax rate for those earning over €150,000 annually. The measures are aimed at reducing Portugal’s budget deficit from 8.3pc of gross domestic product (GDP) to 2.8pc of GDP. Of course, while such a budget deficit is nowhere near…

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Ireland did not become wealthy during boom – Davy

The presumption that Ireland became wealthy during the boom is false and Irish workers by and large wasted their high incomes during the Celtic Tiger years, a new report from Davy stockbrokers has said. The Davy report says that while Ireland has moved up the income per capita table each year since 1994, the country never actually became wealthy as much of the money made between 2000 and 2008 was wasted. The stockbroker’s report acknowledges that Ireland was still ranked eighth in the Eurozone in terms of wealth at the end of 2009, but said that years of high income was not enough for a country to become wealthy. To…

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Permanent TSB to hike standard variable mortgage rate

Permanent TSB to hike standard variable mortgage rate

Permanent TSB has confirmed that it is raising the interest rates on its standard variable mortgages and related products by 0.5pc from the start of February. As a result, the new rate for customers holding standard variable mortgages is 3.69pc. Permanent TSB said the move would affect just under 80,000 residential mortgage customers, who make up 45pc of its residential mortgage loan book. Its other 100,000 residential mortgage customers will not be affected. High cost of funds The bank said the decision to increase rates had been forced on it as a result of the continuing high cost of funds. “While the bank sources funds from a variety of sources,…

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BoA reports net loss of US$194m on TARP charge

Bank of America (BoA) has reported a net loss of US$194m for its fourth quarter compared to a loss of US$1.8bn reported a year earlier. America’s largest bank was hit with a US$4bn charge during the final quarter of the year as it paid back the last of the taxpayer monies it owed under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). BoA said it has now repaid the US$45bn in TARP funds it received from the US Government over the course of the financial crisis. Revenue for the fourth quarter rose 59pc to US$25.4bn from US$16bn a year ago, the bank said, which reflected in part its acquisition of Merrill Lynch.…

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Aer Lingus Deputy CEO Niall Walsh resigns

Aer Lingus’ Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer Niall Walsh has resigned from the airline. The airline issued a statement yesterday saying that Walsh will leave the company with immediate effect “to pursue other interests”. Christoph Mueller, Aer Lingus’ Chief Executive Officer, will assume responsibility for the duties of the Chief Operating Officer for a temporary period. Aer Lingus Chief Engineer Fergus Wilson will assist Mueller with the additional role. The role of Deputy Chief Executive will be discontinued, Aer Lingus said. In terms of the Chief Operating Officer role, the carrier said it will immediately begin an external search. “I would like to thank Niall for his 16…

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Royal Bank of Scotland cuts 200 Irish IT jobs

More than 200 IT jobs are to be cut by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) across the Republic and Northern Ireland. RBS, which trades as Ulster Bank in Ireland, is closing its IT support offices across Ireland. Some 196 IT support staff at the bank’s IT support office at Parkgate Street in Dublin and a further 25 at its office in Belfast were told of the redundancies this morning. Some of the jobs are due to be transferred to the UK.

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Time for reverse innovation

In Vijay Govindarajan’s view, many of the major innovations of the future will originate in the emerging markets. Global companies in the developed world will need to get in on the act if they are to compete, he says. Gone are the days when the major mass markets were the US, Japan and Europe. Today, emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India and Russia represent half of the world’s GDP and over 40pc of its exports. They now represent the mass markets that need to be served, and not with products designed for traditional consumers. With many forecasting that the developed world will see a prolonged period of slow growth…

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Siteserv preferred bidder for Bord Gáis contract

Infrastructure support services group Siteserv has announced it has been selected, through its subsidiary Sierra Communications, as the preferred bidder for Bord Gáis Home Energy’s ‘Provision of Appliance Servicing, Boiler Installation and Related Services’ contract. Both parties will now enter into a period of contractual negotiations and a further announcement is expected to be made in the first quarter of 2010. The contract has an estimated value of €50m over the three-year term and has a potential to extend to a further two years, Siteserv said. Siteserv is a holding company for businesses including RoanKabin, Sierra Support Services, Holgate Infrastructure & Motorway Services and Rentafence.

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Diamonds are forever

johnteeling

John Teeling remains one of Ireland’s foremost entrepreneurs, with business interests that range from Cooley Distillery to African diamond mines. He spoke to Irish Director magazine about a lifetime in business. Given John Teeling’s portfolio of interests, which includes Cooley, Ireland’s only independent whiskey distillery, diamond-mining companies in Botswana and Guinea, oil exploration operations in Iraq and South America and a gold exploration business in Iran, it’s no great surprise when he reveals that he has always been interested in high-risk, high-potential ventures. It is interesting, however, to note that Teeling made his initial money from speculating on the stock exchange, which he says “was my first love and my…

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