The Irish Examiner reports on a new survey which shows that the labelling of groceries as Irish-made gets the attention of a growing number of shoppers, even though many believe home-produced goods cost more than imported alternatives. The survey for ShelfLife magazine found 80% of shoppers were encouraged to buy Irish produce when they saw symbols such as the Love Irish Food and Guaranteed Irish logos — up from 72% last year. The protection of Irish jobs was shoppers’ main concern, with 76% saying this influenced their choice — also up on last year’s finding of 72%. That decision is helped by the fact that 81% believe Irish produce is of a high standard, even if 64% believe it is dearer than similar produce sourced elsewhere.
The Irish Independent says that losses at the company that manages the five-star Renaissance Shelbourne Hotel almost tripled last year as bank repayments soared. Accounts just filed with the Companies Office by Torriam Hotel Operating Company show the operator's pre-tax losses increased to €301,122 from €104,282 last year. Revenues increased from €9.4m to €9.96m. A subsidiary of international hotel giant Marriott International, Torriam's revenues are made up of management fees and payroll services. The chief factor behind the increased loss was net bank interest payments increasing from €190,796 to €285,364. The figures show that the firm recorded an operating loss of €15,758 last year following an operating profit of €85,514 in 2011.
US authorities are demanding JPMorgan Chase pay more than $6 billion to settle allegations it mis-sold securities to government-backed mortgage companies in the run-up to the financial crisis, reports The Irish Times. The bank is resisting the payment, which would be its single biggest penalty in a catalogue of expensive run-ins with US authorities and one of the largest post-crisis settlements by any bank, these people said. It dwarfs the amount that JPMorgan is expected to pay to settle regulatory action over its “London whale” trading scandal and exceeds the penalties for its alleged manipulation of commodities markets. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, a government regulator, sued JPMorgan and 17 other banks in 2011. It said the bank falsely claimed that loans backing $33 billion of mortgage-backed securities complied with underwriting guidelines and that it “significantly overstated the ability of the borrowers to repay their mortgage loans”.
Billabong has posted annual results showing that its core brand is now worthless, reports The Financial Times. Losses at the company have now more than tripled, the newspaper reports, ending a bad year for the Australian surf-wear company. Impairment charges and writedowns worth almost $780 million saw the company report a full-year loss just shy of that figure, with shares ending the day down 5.3% as a result. The company has been subject to a string of takeover and refinancing proposals in the past year, with chairman saying the firm was within weeks of agreeing a long-term financing deal.