NAMA - WE WON'T BLACKLIST BORROWERS FOR LOANS - NAMA's top bosses have moved to pre-empt criticism of the agency's new role managing the Government's latest housebuilding fund, including telling the Irish Independent they will work with builders regardless of any previous disputes.
Since 2009 most of the country's main builders have had some or all of their debt in NAMA and in a significant minority of cases relations were strained or broken. However, asked if builders who had a poor past relationship with NAMA will be able to access loans from the new €750m Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) fund, the agency's CEO Brendan McDonagh insisted they would. There will be "no restrictions on borrowers if they have a business case" and a "viable proposition", he said. "We've all been through a lot," he said. In relation to criticism by some builders of NAMA, the agency's chairman, Frank Daly, said it went with the job. "It's business, it's not personal," he said. The agency faces a legal challenge in relation to its existing role as a lender for housebuilding.
BUG KILLER KASTUS WINS TOP PRIZE AT INNOVATION AWARDS - Irish firm Kastus, which has developed a pioneering antimicrobial coating which kills 99.99% of harmful bacteria and superbugs such as E.Coli and MRSA, has won this year's Irish Times overall innovation of the year award.
The innovation has potential applications in areas such as consumer electronics (touch screens, keyboards and smartphones), the food industry, the healthcare sector and the automotive, air and marine industries. Kastus also picked up the life science and healthcare category award sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland. Teenage entrepreneurs Kate (17) and Annie (15) Madden won the closely fought New Frontiers category, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, with their FenuHealth.com business. In just two years, the horse-mad sisters have converted a BT Young Scientist project into a business involving eight people, with exports to 12 countries over four continents. Their success has caught the eye of several international racehorse trainers and showjumpers along the way.
IRISH SPORTS FIRM HOPES TO TAP WORLD CUP - Support in Sport, the Irish firm that provides sports pitches around the world, hopes to benefit from the World Cup finals next year.
New accounts filed by the company's UK arm show revenues at the Support in Sport Group Ltd climbed 38% to £25m (€27.8m) last year. However, pre-tax profits at the company, which has its head offices in Sligo, fell 25% to £1.18m, as the cost of sales and administrative expenses increased significantly. The firm generates most of its sales in the UK. The company designs and instals pitches for many high-profile clubs, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and European rugby champions, Saracens, writes the Irish Examiner. Its clients also include the Rugby Football Union in England, the English Football Association, and it also provides pitches for the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia, the Africa Cup of Nations, the European Champions League and Six Nations Rugby. On the company’s future developments, the directors state that the group believes that it can continue to benefit from the momentum that has built over the past years and 2016 to drive growth forward in 2017. Staff numbers rose from 70 to 90, and staff costs increased to £2.86m. Pay for directors rose from £165,049 to £189,218.
NETFLIX AND EBAY SPARK RENEWED TAX SCRUTINY AFTER PAYING £1.9 MILLION - Netflix and eBay, two US technology groups with millions of British customers, collectively paid less than £1.9m in UK tax last year, raising new questions about how multinationals structure their businesses to minimise their tax bills.
Ebay’s UK business paid £1.6m in tax on £7.6m of profits and £200m of revenues last year, according to the e-commerce company's latest filings with Companies House. However the online retailer had previously told US authorities it registered more than $1.3 billion of revenues in the UK in 2016, writes the Financial Times. The revenue figure reported in the US appears to include commissions eBay received on sales in the UK, but those figures are not included in the UK accounts. Instead, the UK subsidiary describes its revenue as coming only from providing marketing and advertising services to eBay’s Swiss entity, eBay International AG. Separately, Netflix’s latest UK filings show the video-streaming service registered a 39% fall in its UK tax bill to less than €300,000 last year, while its UK revenues and profits nearly halved to €22m and €1m. The California-based company, which is thought to have roughly 6.5 million subscribers in Britain, books all of its subscription revenue from UK users through its parent company Netflix International BV, which is based in the Netherlands.