Today in the press

Monday 24 February 2014 09.34
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers

MILLIONS KEPT BY THE BANKS WHO MIS-SOLD POLICIES - Banks who mis-sold payment protection products to customers have escaped sanction in about 1,000 cases from last year because of a six-year rule, it will be revealed later this week. The Irish Independent says that as a result, they are able to retain tens of millions of euro from customers. Thousands of customers mis-sold premium products like payment protection insurance for credit cards are being "denied access" to redress because of "highly restrictive" legislation. The figures are contained in correspondence from Bill Prasifka, Financial Services Ombudsman, to Fianna Fail's finance spokesman Michael McGrath, seen by the Independent. Mr Prasifka's office is set to formally release the figures later this week. In his letter, sent last Tuesday, he said his office received about 8,000 complaints each year. Of those, 12% or 1,000 complaints each year fall outside the jurisdiction of his office because of a six-year limit, which precludes his office from examining cases before 2008.

***

GLOBAL DIVIDEND PAYOUTS SURPASS $1 TRILLION MARK - Dividends paid out by listed companies across the globe in 2013 totalled more than $1 trillion for the first time, according to research says the Financial Times. Analysis by Henderson Global Investors shows how emerging markets have grown as a source of investor income, even as continental Europe has somewhat faded. It also points to the greater contributions from the financial sector, as banks continue to recover after the credit crunch; and from the technology sector as companies such as Apple respond to increasing pressure from investors to spend some of their cashpiles. The $1.03 trillion payout represents an increase of more than 40% on the $717 billion in dividends paid in 2009. Dividends from companies in emerging markets last year totalled more than twice their payments in 2009, while the contribution from Europe excluding the UK dropped from almost 30% in 2009 to little more than 20% last year. The index is based on dividends paid out in full, rather than just those going to outside shareholders, and so includes payments to governments and families that own large corporate stakes.

***

NAMA CHANGED TERMS OF CINEMA BIDDING PROCESS - NAMA changed the terms of a bidding process that it ran to select the operator of a proposed cinema that the State assets agency is backing without telling at least one of the participants beforehand. The Irish Times says that NAMA is financing a €20 million development at Scotch Hall in Drogheda, Co Louth, consisting of eight new cinema screens and 50,000sq ft of shops, that is proposed by Edward Holdings, owned by developer Gerry Barret, one of the agency’s larger clients. The agency selected Edward Holdings Eye Cinema subsidiary, after an independent process that it ran in mid 2012, which attracted five bids. The decision means that NAMA is backing both the development of the property and the actual cinema business itself. According to one of the unsuccessful bidders, the agency changed the terms midway through the process. It claims it had originally expressed interest in the cinema, and was told that it would have to go through an independent process overseen by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Bidders were told that offers to rent or buy the cinema would be considered. However, at an interview in PWC’s Dublin offices in June 2012, one company that had expressed interest in buying the cinema was told the agency would only consider offers to rent the facility.

***
'HOT PRESS' MAKES PROFIT FOR SECOND YEAR RUNNING  -The company that publishes Hot Press magazine recorded a profit for the second year running in 2012 after years of successive losses, reports the Irish Examiner. With figures last week showing that the magazine increased its circulation in 2013, filings lodged with the companies office reveal that Osnovina Ltd recorded a profit of €13,739 in 2012, with accumulated profits increasing from €607,858 to €621,597. The firm also recorded a profit in 2011, of €15,533. According to a note with the accounts: “The company again made a profit in 2012. The company had implemented a cost-saving strategy throughout all areas of the business in the last number of years and has continued to do so in 2013. At the same time, the company is successfully driving and innovating its sales in what continues to be a difficult marketplace. The management accounts for 2013 show the company maintaining profitability". The accounts show that the company had shareholder funds totalling €645,405 in place at the end of December 2012. 

***

Keywords: presswatch