ELECTRICITY COST TO RISE BY €205m DUE TO LEVY INCREASE - Consumers and businesses will pay an extra €205 million for electricity from next October under plans to increase the public service levy charged by the State's energy regulator, writes the Irish Times. All electricity customers in the Republic pay a public service obligation (PSO) levy, designed to pay for Government-approved supports given to green-energy projects, peat-fired generating plants and two private companies - Tynagh Energy and Aughinish Alumina - that have special power supply contracts with the State. According to a consultation paper published in recent days, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) is proposing to increase these supports from October. The plan will result in consumers and businesses paying an extra €205.6 million for their electricity over the succeeding 12 months, an increase of more than 50% on the charge levied last year. Under the proposals, the PSO levy on each household in the Republic will be €41.80, or €3.48 a month over the 12 months from October. They are currently paying €2.32 a month.Small businesses will pay €126 or €10.50 a month from a current rate of €7.14. The regulator does not give a monthly breakdown of the levy that will be imposed on what it classes as large energy users such as hospitals and key industries such as pharmaceuticals and IT, but they will contribute €98.6 million of the total.
OWNER WHO SOLD LAND FOR €3m BUYS IT BACK FOR €215,000 - A man who sold 4.75 acres of land for €3m in 2005 has bought back the same plot for just €215,000. Businessman Vincent Campbell described the deal as "actually unbelievable" after confirming he had bought back the land and house at Ballycummin, Raheen, Limerick. It works out as a gross profit of just under €2.8m in eight years, says the Irish Independent. Mr Campbell, whose family ran the Highway Bar and Restaurant in Dooradoyle, Co Limerick, said he planned to graze cattle on the site but apart from that has "no immediate plans". The land and house was sold at auction by GVM Auctioneers Tom Crosse, who remained tight-lipped on the buyer. However, rumours began to spread that it was the same man who sold it originally with many congratulating Mr Campbell. "It is a very unique story. It just shows how the whole world has gone and unfortunately we all know what has happened in the eight years," he said. "We spent 20 very happy years there (in Ballycummin), we raised our family there. It was a lucky place for us and not just selling it, we were very lucky in life there." He bought the house in 1986 and then the piece of land in 1992. When it was sold privately in 2005, a flagship car dealership was planned for the site.
TVC TO RETURN €50m TO INVESTORS - Investment company TVC Holdings has said that it will continue to look for acquisition and investment prospects, in the €10m-€20m range, despite seeing a dearth of opportunities of late. Shareholders formally approved TVC's previously mooted special dividend payment plan yesterday, which will see €50m of surplus cash returned to investors, says the Irish Examiner. Speaking after the firm's AGM and EGM in Dublin, yesterday, TVC's executive chairman, Shane Reihill said that "the maximisation of shareholder value" continues to be the company's main ethos. The return of funds - via a 49.5 cent per ordinary share special dividend (which will be paid in September) - was proposed by management, earlier this year, after no new investments had been made and having €80m of surplus cash was deemed not to be in shareholders' best interests. While TVC saw its pre- tax profits dip, in its last financial year, from just over €9m to €6.6m, the company is in a healthy state, with net assets of €72m (mainly comprising its 18% stake in UTV Media) and no debt.
IRAN, RUSSIA AND CHINA PROP UP ASSAD ECONOMY - Iran, Russia and China are propping up Syria’s war-ravaged economy, with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime doing all its business in rials, roubles and renminbi as it seeks to beat western sanctions, according to the country’s senior economics minister. Syria’s three main allies are supporting international financial transactions, delivering $500m a month in oil and extending credit lines, Kadri Jamil, deputy prime minister for the economy, said in an interview with the Financial Times. He added that its allies would also soon help with a “counter-offensive” against what he called a foreign plot to sink the Syrian pound. Mr Jamil’s combative remarks on the deepening economic crisis highlight a wider show of regime assurance, founded on recent military gains and a belief that its biggest international supporters remain solidly behind it. “It’s not that bad to have behind you the Russians, the Chinese and Iranians,” Mr Jamil told the FT. “Those three countries are helping us politically, militarily - and also economically.” Mr Jamil said Syria had an unlimited credit line with Tehran for food and oil-product imports. Damascus, he said, had also corrected its pre-crisis “mistake” of trading in western currencies and had switched transactions to Russian, Chinese and Iranian currencies instead.