KEY DATA ON BUSINESS LEASES TO BE PUBLISHED - Key information on almost 25,000 commercial leases is being made public today for the first time with the opening of an online database that tracks all rental agreements made since the start of 2010. The long-awaited initiative is designed to foster transparency in a sector dogged by prolonged controversy over upward-only rent reviews in a market in which property values have collapsed, writes the Irish Times. The Commercial Leases Database is published today by the Property Services Regulatory Authority and is available on its website at psr.ie. “In the context of the rent review process, access to accurate information is critical in ensuring that a true market rent emerges from that process and that all parties are on an equal footing in terms of ability to access such information,” said Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. The database provides partial information free-of-charge on 24,747 leases agreed since January 2010, when the Revenue introduced electronic stamping of new leases. In addition, full information is provided for a €10 fee per lease on the 9,521 leases entered into since April 3rd, 2012, when new legislation took effect.
AER LINGUS AIMS TO SELL IT SYSTEMS TO OTHER AIRLINES - Aer Lingus is aiming to sell new IT services to other airlines, while chief executive Christoph Mueller will visit Etihad's home base of Abu Dhabi tomorrow to "take stock" of what he said has been a productive relationship between the airlines. Etihad owns nearly 3% of Aer Lingus and the two airlines also have a codeshare agreement, which Mr Mueller said has performed better than expected since it came into operation last year. The Irish Independent says that Etihad, headed by Irish chief executive James Hogan, has made no secret of the fact that it would be interested in acquiring a bigger stake in Aer Lingus. However, any such move would be unlikely to take place before a troublesome pension issue that affects Aer Lingus is resolved. Even so the two carriers have 17 areas of interest that they may cooperate on, from aircraft to engines and IT systems, according to Mr Mueller. "We have a variety of issues where we cooperate, not only the flying bit, which has performed better than we expected," said Mr Mueller. "We have a couple of joint purchasing initiatives on things like IT systems; we talk aircraft, we talk engines. There's a list of 17 points we are currently looking at."
PRE-TAX PROFITS AT DUTY FREE OPERATOR HALVE - Pre-tax profits at Shannon-based duty free operator, Aer Rianta International almost halved last year to €18.9m, reports the Irish Examiner. According to new accounts filed by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) subsidiary, the firm recorded the drop in profits despite revenues increasing by 4% from €59.7m to €62.1m in the 12 months to the end of December last. The directors’ report said “the trading performance of the company in 2012 has been satisfactory”. The directors state that the decrease in profit “arose from a reduction in income from financial assets and investments due to a reduction in dividends received from subsidiaries and associated undertakings, including associated undertakings disposed of in 2011”. The firm’s revenues of €62.1m and gross profit of €11.1m “have improved due to improved trading conditions”. Last year, the pay-off of €867,000 received by ARI’s former ceo, Eamon Foley in 2011, attracted attention contributing to emoluments for directors totalling €1.85m in 2011. Mr Foley’s generous exit package included a lump sum of €437,000 and a payment of €68,000 annually for 6.3 years to bridge the gap to retirement.
PwC PLAYS FOR GROWTH WITH BOOZE PURCHASE - When it comes to consulting, it is good to be bulky. At least, that is the logic underlying PwC’s decision to swallow up Booz & Company. Like its rival big four accountancy rival Deloitte, PwC has been building advisory capacity for several years, and the purchase of Booz is the latest move in this strategic push, writes the Financial Times. A look at PwC’s revenues gives a clue as to why. The firm’s growth in audit has been pedestrian to put it politely, with revenues rising only 1% in the latest financial year. Higher-margin advisory work, however, saw an impressive 8% revenue expansion, taking sales to $9.2 billion. Spurred by that growth potential, PwC has been attempting to expand its consulting wing, an earlier iteration of which it sold to IBM in 2002. The hope is that Booz will allow PwC to offer a stronger challenge to the prime end of the management consulting sector, where the likes of McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company dominate, as well as broaden the range of services it offers and clients it serves.