Morning business news - February 11Tuesday 11 February 2014 10.57
Work for architects was difficult to come by in 2010. So one member of that profession chose a new venture that took her from designing buildings to designing cakes. The move worked out and Catherine De Groot has just opened her second Bakemycake retail outlet at Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin.
Catherine De Groot says that architecture and baking could be considered as complementary skills as both professions make things in 3D. But she says the move - which was one of necessity - was a major change of life for her as she had no business skills. Ms De Groot says she did not want to leave Ireland and realised she would have to do something to make a living. The business started on a very small scale in a very small kitchen, but quickly expanded. While she was looking for a new premises, she realised that it made sense to have somewhere to sell from at the same location where the produce was made.
On consumers' buying habits, Catherine says that people still want value for money and good quality cakes. On wedding cakes, she says that they want to taste nice, be good value while at the same time look "amazing". Catherine says the move to Dundrum is great as it has always been her "dream location". While she has been focusing on the move to the Town Centre, she says the business may also look to expanding to the northside of Dublin city and would also consider a move nationwide.
MORNING BRIEFS - US companies with operations here paid tax at an effective rate of just 2.2% during 2011, according to a new study. A paper by James Stewart, associate professor in finance at Trinity College Dublin, and based on US Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics compares the effective tax rate here for US firms to noted tax havens such as Bermuda.
*** The Revenue Commissioners are chasing €135m worth of tax through various avoidance schemes over the past two years which they believe should be unwound. In response to a parliamentary question put down by Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said revenue was investigating 77 transactions relating to the 2012 and 2013 tax years. The tax in dispute in those cases is €134.5m. If Revenue is successful, though, not only will the tax become due but it will also attract interest and a surcharge of 20% of the amount due. The minister noted, however, that this is a slow process. There are currently 449 cases actively being pursued where Revenue has challenged tax avoidance schemes.
*** Virgin America, the US airline in which Richard Branson has a minority stake, is lining up a stock market flotation. The airline has appointed a number of banks to handle the initial public offering of its shares which could take place before the end of this year, according to today's Financial Times. The airline made $33.5m in the most recent financial quarter for which figures are available - the three months to the end of September 2013. It is reported that Virgin America would use the proceeds from selling shares to the public to double its fleet from 50 to 100 aircraft.
*** The new chairperson of the US Federal Reserve will testify before the House of Representatives financial services committee for the first time today. It will give both politicians and the public their first chance to see Janet Yellen at work in her new role. Her prepared testimony will give the Fed's view of the current health of the US economy and where it stands on the massive stimulus measures provided by the central bank in an attempt to prevent growth stalling.