OUTGOING SHANNON BOSS SAYS AIRPORT HAS DELIVERED - Shannon Group contributed an extra €105 million to the economy since it broke from Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), outgoing chief executive Neil Pakey said.
Mr Pakey formally left the helm of the State company at the weekend at the conclusion of his three-year contract, says the Irish Times. In a surprise move last December, Shannon announced that it would not be renewing the agreement despite the fact that the airport had grown significantly. Speaking at the weekend, Mr Pakey indicated that he had no regrets about leaving. “It’s great that I fulfilled the contract,” he said. “I came into an airport in decline, it had been separated from DAA, I helped transform it, and turn it around.” He pointed out that a study by consultancy York Aviation shows that the growth at Shannon Airport over the three years to the end of 2015 delivered €105 million to the Republic’s economy, including €60 million to the group’s hinterland, and had created 1,070 new jobs. Shannon commissioned the report, and it went to the group’s board. A copy was also given to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, although it was not published. UK-based York has worked for Ryanair, London Transport, and airports such as Amsterdam Schiphol, Stansted, London City, Edinburgh and Krakow in Poland in recent years.
WAGE HIKE COULD HIT INVESTMENT, HOTEL CHIEF WARNS - The boss of Ireland's biggest hotel group, Dalata, has warned that the company could divert more investment to the UK if the minimum wage here rises 25%.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Pat McCann said that if minimum wage rises to €11.50 an hour, that it would have a knock-on effect across the hotel group, and would ultimately affect future investment decisions. A weekend report suggested that the Low Pay Commission (LPC), which is preparing a recommendation for Government, could be preparing to back a 25% rise in the current €9.15 per hour minimum wage. While unions are supportive of the move, businesses are concerned of the impact such a hike would have on Ireland's competitiveness, as well as their operations. Mr McCann said increasing the minimum wage would impact Dalata's entire wage structure, and that coupled with high rates and other costs, it could impact the group's overall investment strategy. "Everyone would love to pay more, but that becomes very difficult when you consider that it would come on top of all the other costs," he said. He pointed out that there's a shortage of hotel rooms in Dublin, for instance, and that deciding where to build or buy hotels involves an investment analysis. Higher wage costs could tip the decision "one way or the other", he said.
STATE BANK 'MOST POPULAR' HOUSING FIX - The establishment of a State Housing Bank could help address the country’s chronic shortage of new homes and help address the housing and homelessness crises, according to builders and developers.
More than four-in-10 construction industry leaders are in favour of such a bank which they argue would finance housing projects and provide affordable mortgages, says the Irish Examiner. The proposition emerged as the most popular "corrective action" within the industry, according to research carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (Pwc). "Ensuring adequate finance is available to the sector is critical and our survey confirms this remains a key challenge. Available funding for the sector, whether this is for housing or infrastructure projects, is key to ensuring our economy can continue on its growth path and all options, including alternative non-bank finance, need to be fully investigated," said PwC Real Estate Practice senior manager, Niall Cogan. A State Housing Bank garnered significant support among developers, builders and builder material providers, despite signs that cost pressures are easing.
'THANKS' SLOGAN BRINGS RUDE AWAKENING FOR AT&T AS CITI SUES OVER TRADEMARK - Saying thanks costs nothing, as the adage goes. But not according to Citigroup, the US bank, which is suing AT&T on the grounds that its use of the term amounts to a trademark infringement.
For the past 12 years Citi has run a series of credit card loyalty schemes based on the "thankyou" brand, which awards points to users based on how much they spend. Last April AT&T, the phone company, became one of Citi’s partners in that programme, launching a co-branded card with a sign-on bonus covering up to the $650 of the cost of a phone. But this month AT&T broke ranks, according to Citi, by launching a separate reward programme using the words "thanks" and "AT&T thanks". In a complaint filed in a Manhattan federal court on Friday, Citi said that it was seeking injunctive relief and unspecified damages, writes the Financial Times. It cited eight trademarks using the term "thankyou," which it said was "conclusive" evidence of its sole right to use the marks on cards in the US. "AT&T’s use of the … trademarks is likely to cause consumer confusion and constitutes trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition in violation of Citigroup’s rights," the bank wrote. AT&T, which has a market capitalisation of $249 billion, almost twice Citi’s, gave the complaint short shrift. "This may come as a surprise to Citigroup, but the law does not allow one company to own the word ‘thanks," said spokesperson Fletcher Cook, in an email. "We’re going to continue to say thanks to our customers."