US FIRMS PAID 'EFFECTIVE TAX RATE OF 2.2% IN 2011' - US multinationals reported paying tax rates of 2.2% in Ireland during 2011, according to a new study. A research paper by Prof James Stewart, associate professor in finance at Trinity College Dublin, also challenges Government claims that effective corporation tax rates in Ireland are just below the headline rate of 12.5%, writes the Irish Times. Instead, the study suggests Ireland's effective tax rate for American firms is similar to jurisdictions regarded as tax havens such as Bermuda, based on latest US Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics. The research paper's findings come at a sensitive time as Ireland finds itself in the global spotlight for helping multinationals avoid taxes around the world. On a visit to Paris last week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny faced repeated questions over the decision of US internet giant Yahoo to transfer its finance operations from France to Ireland. Mr Kenny quoted a report by consultants PwC and the World Bank Group which found Ireland's effective corporate tax rate was about 11.9%, higher than France's effective rate of 8.2%. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is examining ways of closing corporate tax loopholes such as the "double Irish" and "Dutch sandwich".
VODAFONE IN TALKS WITH ESB OVER €400m FIBRE BROADBAND NETWORK - Vodafone has entered into exclusive negotiations with the ESB for the rollout of a new €400m fibre broadband network to 450,000 Irish homes and businesses. The utility company has been seeking a commercial telecoms partner for over a year to help it with the development of the new fibre network. The proposed deal, which will see ESB's electricity lines being used to deliver fibre broadband, could see Vodafone going head-to-head with Eircom and UPC as a standalone fibre broadband provider. "ESB has entered into exclusive negotiations with Vodafone Ireland as the preferred bidder to form a Joint Venture Company, which will roll out fibre to homes and businesses across Ireland," a Vodafone spokesman told the Irish Independent. The new network will be based outside Dublin and concentrated in towns of at least 4,000 premises. The Government is currently moving legislation through the Oireachtas which will allow the ESB to use its infrastructure for the delivery of fibre broadband. Politicians have expressed hope that the new fibre network could offer more choice for broadband in rural Ireland.
DONALD TRUMP SET TO PURCHASE DOONBEG GOLF RESORT FOR €15m - American property mogul Donald Trump is in the frame to purchase the five-star Doonbeg golf resort in Co Clare for around €15m, reports the Irish Examiner. The flamboyant New Yorker, who already owns a suite of 15 golf resorts around the world, is understood to be close to agreeing a package to purchase the resort from investment fund company, King Street. Ernst & Young’s Luke Charleton and David Hughes were appointed receivers last month, and expressed their confidence at the time that a sale would be completed within six weeks. The sale includes the five-star Lodge hotel and the spectacular links golf course, plus seven unsold suites. It is understood that existing property owners will retain all rights under the terms of any sale agreement.
ICESAVE DISPUTE RESURRECTED IN COURT - British and Dutch authorities have reignited the controversial dispute over the collapse of online lender Icesave at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 by filing a lawsuit for up to IKr1,000 billion (£5.6 billion) against Iceland’s bank guarantee fund. Iceland’s guarantee scheme, TIF, said on Monday that the UK was seeking IKr452 billion while the Netherlands wanted IKr104 billion. Both countries are also seeking interest and costs in the five-year-old dispute. The dispute stems from money lost by more than 300,000 British and Dutch depositors in high-yielding Icesave accounts marketed by Landsbanki, one of the three big Icelandic banks that collapsed in 2008. The UK and Dutch governments chose to reimburse savers through their domestic deposit insurance schemes even though the bank fell under Icelandic jurisdiction. Iceland’s banks became symbols of the global financial crisis after amassing assets equivalent to 10 times the size of their domestic economy following a lending spree that saw Icelandic entrepreneurs take over companies such as Hamley’s and West Ham United.