BOTTLE MAKER ARDAGH UNCORKS 2015 IPO PLAN - Paul Coulson's glass and packaging group, Ardagh, is likely to proceed with its long-awaited stock market launch in the second half of next year, says the Irish Times. The Irish-backed multinational, which supplies bottles to the likes of Coca Cola, Budweiser and Heineken, shelved plans to float on Wall Street in 2011, citing market volatility. However, it said yesterday that, following a review of its funding options, it would be in the group's best interests to proceed with plans for an initial public offering (IPO) of its shares in the second half of 2015. The group is not likely to determine how much it will raise from its planned IPO until nearer the flotation date, but proceeds are likely to go towards paying down its €3 billion-plus debt and on acquisitions. Given that it is one of the biggest players in its sector in the US and went through most of the formal application process with that country's stock market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, in 2011, it is thought that it will opt to sell its shares in New York. Luxembourg-based Ardagh has its roots in the Irish Glass Bottle manufacturing business founded in Dublin in 1932 and has a large number of Irish shareholders, including Mr Coulson, who owns more than 30% of the group and is its chairman.
HUNDREDS OF JOBS TO BE SAVED AS ARNOTTS SALES GETS GO-AHEAD - Hundreds of jobs have been secured as Brown Thomas owner Galen Weston and developer Noel Smyth have secured the green light to purchase a 50% stake in Dublin department store Arnotts. It emerged last December that the Canadian businessman, whose family also owns upmarket British retailer Selfridges and controls Primark owner Associated British Foods, had teamed up with solicitor turned developer Noel Smyth to buy a €140m tranche of Arnotts' loans that were being offloaded by Ulster Bank. They used a company called Fitzwilliam Finance Partners to bid for the Arnotts loans. The Competition Authority yesterday approved the acquisition by two separate buyers which secures more than 500 jobs at Arnotts and over 100 more at Boyers. "Based on the evidence and information obtained through this investigation, the authority has formed the view that the proposed transaction will not lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the State," said the watchdog. The Weston Group has previously said it has plans to develop the 170-year-old Arnotts store and its "peripheral properties".
TAX POLICY CHANGES COULD COST €1 BILLION - International tax policy changes being considered by the OECD could shave €1 billion off Ireland’s annual multinational tax take, a Dáil Committee has heard says the Irish Examiner. Addressing a joint sub-committee hearing on global taxation matters, yesterday, Brian Keegan - director of taxation at Chartered Accountants Ireland - said the OECD’s base erosion and profit sharing policies could have both positive and negative effects for Ireland. While new transparency proposals could benefit the country, he warned that poor transfer pricing and profit shifting proposals could result in Ireland’s €4 billion annual tax take from foreign-owned multinationals falling to €3 billion. He added that any negative international focus on Ireland regarding international tax policies has been “unfair and unfounded” and harmful tax practices are “simply not a feature of the Irish tax landscape.” He also said that base erosion and profit sharing could make an already difficult international tax environment even more complicated.
REGENERATING DERELICT DETROIT TO COST $2 BILLION - The full extent of Detroit’s blight is finally known, and so is the cost to clean it up. An Obama administration-appointed task force has found that it could cost as much as $2 billion to remove or rehabilitate the bankrupt city’s 84,641 mostly residential blighted properties and the hulking remnants of its factories. In a 340-page report issued on Tuesday, the city’s Blight Removal Task Force said it would cost $850m just to address neighbourhood blight in the sprawling Midwestern city in the next few years, while an additional $1 billion may be needed to deal with abandoned large-scale industrial sites across Detroit. The report comes as the city awaits a decision by more than 170,000 creditors - who all get a vote - on whether they will approve a plan to restructure its $18.5 billion in debts. The city also faces a July 24 trial that will determine whether it can emerge from the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. The removal of the derelict properties across 130sqm of sparsely populated neighbourhoods outside Detroit’s thriving central business district has long been seen as a first step to kick-start the city’s recovery. Around one-third of residential and commercial structures are blighted in Detroit, which has seen its population more than halve from 1.8m in 1950 to around 700,000 today, according to the report.