News Archives - Page 5 of 567 - Pat Carroll PCCO - Chartered Accountants & Tax Advisors

Wholesale electricity prices down almost 47% in past year

There was a decrease in the price of wholesale electricity in February 2024 with prices 15.3% lower than the previous month.

The price of electricity was 46.8% lower than in February 2023. This is the lowest price of wholesale electricity since the peak in August 2022.

According to the CSO Wholesale Electricity price index, prices last month still remain 56% dearer than 2015 prices, the base year used for the index.

The gradual drop since peak prices has been reflected in falling domestic electricity prices, and reduction in charges to customers from their suppliers the most of recent of which were introduced this month.

The figures are contained in the Wholesale Price Index published by the CSO today.

It also shows that producer prices for food products dropped by 9.3% in the 12 months to February 2024 and wholesale prices for construction products were down by 0.7% in the 12 month period, although they were up by 0.1% in the month to February 2024.

Domestic producer prices for manufactured goods were on average 3.3% lower in February 2024 when compared with a year earlier, while producer prices for exported goods rose by 3.7%.

Overall, manufacturing producer prices were 3.3% higher in the year.

Commenting on the drop in electricity prices Darragh Cassidy of bonkers.ie said if wholesale prices remain close to where they are, it’s highly likely we’ll see another round of price cuts in the second half of the year of between 10 – 20%.

“This comes on the back of two rounds of price cuts over the past six months that have seen electricity bills fall by around 20 to 25%,” he said.

“However even after this third price cut, presuming it happens, electricity prices would still be around 50 to 60 percent higher than what would, until relatively recently, have been considered normal levels.

“So even though the worst of the energy crisis has thankfully passed, we’re still a long way from a return to “normality”, whatever that may end up looking like,” he added.

Article Source – Wholesale electricity prices down almost 47% in past year – RTE

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Europe’s IPO market hits bump but recovery still on course, bankers say

A strong debut by Swiss skincare company Galderma on Friday is steadying nerves around Europe’s IPO market, a day after a poorly received listing from German retailer Douglas, bankers said.

Galderma’s debut on the Zurich stock exchange marked Europe’s biggest IPO since Porsche in September 2022.

Its long-awaited listing comes as billions of dollars worth of European companies line up to go public.

But those hopes risked being dashed after shares in CVC-owned Douglas tumbled more than 12%.

Still, Galderma’s shares soared above their issue price in the first hours of trading, while overnight in New York social media company Reddit saw its stock jump more than 48%.

“Sentiment around IPOs continues to be positive globally and in Europe, and those deals that are being prepared for Q2 and H2 are expected to come as planned,” said Antoine de Guillenchmidt, co-head of equity capital markets at Goldman Sachs for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, who worked on the Galderma and Douglas IPOs.

The trading of these two private equity-owned firms was being closely watched by bankers and investors, after global IPO issues fell in 2023 for a second year.

Private equity firms have been left with a staggering $3.2 trillion in unsold assets, restricting the return of capital back to their investors and having a chilling effect on fundraising, analysts at Bain & Co said.

But with central banks signalling an end to interest rate hikes, the stock market is becoming a viable exit route.

“Large private equity-backed transactions are a signal that IPO markets are receptive,” said Markus Meier, head of ECM in Germany at Bank of America.

Europe has already seen some success stories this year.

Tank gear manufacturer Renk, the first newcomer to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange this year, has almost doubled its issue price of €15 since debuting in February. Its IPO was one of several postponed last autumn amid uncertainty around interest rates and geopolitical tensions.

After Renk’s debut, Douglas and Galderma both accelerated their IPOs to take advantage of the positive mood.

CVC-owned Douglas raised €850m to pay off debt. Shares were priced at €26, the bottom of an indicated price range, and traded as low as €22.7.

EQT-backed Galderma raised around to 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.23 billion), with its shares opening at 61 francs on the SIX Swiss Exchange, up 15% from the IPO’s final price of 53 francs per share, which was the top end of its indicated price range.

Douglas will have left a sour taste for those investors who have lost money and could be a drag for some IPO candidates.

“We’re still in the recovery phase, so we’re not in an anything goes environment but a selective environment,” said Martin Thorneycroft, head of cash ECM in EMEA at Morgan Stanley, which co-led the Galderma IPO.

Though caution remains, further new issues are to be expected, Julian Schulze De la Cruz, a capital markets lawyer at Noerr, said.

Private equity firm Permira has been preparing an IPO for Italian luxury brand Golden Goose – known for its worn looking runners – as soon as the second quarter. Apollo-backed lender OLB Bank has also said it is preparing to go public.

Fuel card provider DKV Mobility – another from CVC’s portfolio after Douglas – is also waiting to come back after postponing its IPO plans last year.

CVC itself is expected to come to the market with an IPO worth more than €1 billion as soon as after Easter, a person familiar with the plan said.

Article Source – Europe’s IPO market hits bump but recovery still on course, bankers say – RTE

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House prices spike in counties Cavan, Longford and Tipperary

House price increases in lower-priced counties soared above the national average in the first three months of the year as buyers chase affordability, the latest REA Average House Price Index has found.

The lowest housing supply in two decades has sparked significant price competition in counties such as Longford, where buyers are prepared to move for hybrid working opportunities in homes selling at an average of €181,700 – a rise of €7,700 (4.4%) in 12 weeks.

Similar rises have been reported in Cavan and Tipperary, with prices up €17,500 (7%) in Nenagh in the first quarter of 2024.

The actual selling price of a three-bed, semi-detached house across the country rose by 1.3% in this period to €308,235.

The REA Average House Price Index concentrates on the sale price of a typical stock home, the three-bed semi, giving an accurate picture of the second-hand property market in towns and cities countrywide.

Prices in Dublin city rose by 1.1% in the last three months, meaning that the average three-bed semi in the capital is now selling at €517,333 – an increase of 3.8% in the last year.

“There continues to be strong demand throughout the country as buyers compete for the lowest supply of residential property in two decades – despite the high level of values and interest rates,” said REA spokesperson, Barry McDonald.

“On the positive side for potential homeowners, the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant has finally kicked in, opening up a market for homes in need of improvement.

“These were the type of properties previously really hard to sell with people afraid of refurbishment costs, limiting the market to builders and developers,” he said.

“If a home is declared vacant for two years or more, and it qualifies under the scheme, buyers know they can avail of a grant for refurbishment of up to €50,000 and up to €70,000 if there is a structural issue.”

Major cities outside the capital experienced the highest rise in the survey for Q1 – up by an average of over €5,000 in the last three months. The 1.8% increase is equivalent to an average selling price of €328,750 – with the annual rate of increase at 6%.

Homes in commuter counties rose by 0.6% over the past three months to an average of €321,667, with a 1.3% rise in Kildare and prices relatively static in Meath, Louth and Wicklow.

Longford experienced the highest rise per county, with average three bed semis now selling at €181,700.

Local agent Joe Brady said that Longford’s accessibility to Dublin is still a big draw for those who are hybrid working.

“We expect a rise in values by as much as 5% this spring, based on current sales. To date, there are no new homes on the market in Co Longford and it may be late 2024 or into 2025 before we see more new supply,” he said.

Nenagh in Tipperary saw prices increase by 7% to €265,000 in 12 weeks – a rise of €17,500 – as extreme shortages of supply saw intense competition for each house, according to REA agent Eoin Dillion.

Article Source – House prices spike in counties Cavan, Longford and Tipperary – RTE

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Housing commencements up 85% year-on-year

Notices that work was beginning on 3,699 new homes across the country were received in February, new data from the Department of Housing shows.

This is up 85% on the number of new homes commenced in the same month last year.

The Department said this is the highest number of units started in the month of February since records began in 2015.

So far this year, work has started on 7,056 new homes – a record-high first two months of the year.

This is up 72% when compared to the first two months of last year.

The department said rolling 12-month commencements are now above 35,750.

“These figures indicate that supply, which is key to addressing our housing needs continues to increase and that a robust stock of new housing is in the pipeline,” the Department said in a statement.

Of the 3,699 units commenced, 60% are scheme dwellings, 29% are apartments and 11% are for one-off units.

Article Source – Housing commencements up 85% year-on-year – RTE

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ECB rate cut probability increasing, Nagel says

Euro zone inflation is set to fall back to the European Central Bank’s 2% target by next year so an interest rate cut could come possibly as soon as June, Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel said today.

“The probability is increasing that we will see the first rate cut before the summer break,” Nagel told an MNI webcast.

“If I would put it into probabilities, definitely something in June has a higher probability than in April.”

Article Source – ECB rate cut probability increasing, Nagel says – RTE

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EU leaders to back tighter euro zone fiscal stance in 2025

European Union leaders will today back a slightly tighter fiscal policy for the euro zone next year, to help bring down inflation and make public finance more stable after the excess spending of the Covid pandemic and the energy price crisis.

The endorsement comes after finance ministers of the 20 countries using the euro agreed on March 11 on fiscal policy guidelines for 2025 to take into account new fiscal rules that give more time to cut debt while maintaining investment.

“The European Council endorses … the …recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area,” draft conclusions of the EU leaders say.

The endorsed recommendation says that the new fiscal rules would require an overall slightly contractionary fiscal stance in the euro zone in 2025.

“This would be appropriate in light of the current macroeconomic outlook, of the need to continue to enhance fiscal sustainability, and to support the ongoing disinflationary process, while policies should remain agile in view of the prevailing uncertainty,” the endorsed recommendation says.

The European Commission forecasts that the aggregate euro zone budget deficit in 2024 will shrink to 2.8% of GDP from 3.2% in 2023, and then ease only marginally to 2.7% in 2025.

This should help in bringing down consumer inflation from 5.4% in 2023 to 2.3% in 2024 and then to 2.0% in 2025, reaching 1.9% in 2026, according to European Central Bank forecasts.

The leaders will also endorse a plan agreed by EU finance ministers on how to attract private capital to Europe to finance the continent’s costly transition to a greener and more digital economy while competing with China and the United States for key technologies and raw materials.

The plan is to create a Capital Markets Union (CMU) in the 27 countries that make up the EU, easing barriers for private investment across country borders — a task for the next European Parliament and Commission that will begin their 5-year terms in the middle and towards the end this year, respectively.

Among the areas of focus are securitisation, harmonisation of insolvency laws, tax treatment of pension savings and capital gains, or listing requirements.

“Creating a well-functioning and effective single market for capital through advancing the CMU is a necessity for Europe,” the chairman of euro zone financial ministers Paschal Donohoe said in a latter to the leaders.

“The CMU is one of the key components of our renewed focus on euro area competitiveness, which is imperative to respond to the profound shifts occurring in the global economic landscape,” he said.

Article Source – EU leaders to back tighter euro zone fiscal stance in 2025 – RTE

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New State induced employment supports to cost tourism sector €456m this year

State-induced employment support measures will increase payroll costs for the tourism sector by €456m this year, a new analysis claims.

Between now and 2026, the cost of the policy changes for the industry, which employs nearly 285,000 people, could be up to €1.4 billion, the report finds.

“Such an increase in payroll costs, above and beyond regular wage trends, for an industry that is facing so many challenges would be very damaging to the industry in the absence of mitigating measures,” the report says.

The figures are based on a recent assessment by the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service that the Government driven changes would add 6.6% in payroll costs in the hospitality sector this year an 19.6% by 2026.

The study was carried out by economist Jim Power, on behalf of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), amid concerns about the increasing cost of doing business facing operators in the sector.

The State-induced measures include a 12.4% increase in the National Minimum Wage in January, statutory sick pay changes, the move towards a living wage by 2026, parental leave changes, the extra bank holiday, higher PRSI and pension auto-enrolment.

They come on top of already higher energy costs, higher food prices, labour shortages, the increase in the VAT rate and other input costs, the report claims.

The report says the increase in VAT from 9% to 13.5% was also estimated by the Department of Finance to be quantified at €750m annually – an extra cost the industry has had to absorb.

While Fáilte Ireland has previously estimated that the cost to the wider tourism industry of hotels and guesthouses being used by the State for emergency accommodation is €1.1 billion.

“The net result is that the operating environment for many businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector is becoming very challenging; margins are being squeezed; and the viability of many businesses is being threatened,” the analysis claims.

The report says it is imperative for the tourism and hospitality sector that Government moves as quickly as possible to mitigate the costs imposed by the raft of state-induced labour-market measures being imposed on business now.

Among the longer-term measures it proposes to assist tourism businesses and mitigate against the rising costs is a return of the 9% VAT rate on an ongoing basis.

It also suggests reform of employer PRSI for SMEs, with the application of an 8.8% rate to the entirety of the National Minimum Wage or a PRSI rate rebate for most vulnerable sectors.

It also says that an Enterprise Support Package could be used for sectors such as tourism and hospitality that are most adversely affected by state-induced labour market measures between now and 2026.

President of ITIC, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said the report shows that the Government needs to act and put mitigation measures in place now.

“With St Patrick’s weekend behind us we’re now into the tourism season proper and it is clear that the industry is at a tipping point,” she said.

“North America looks strong but other source markets are soft and there is an enormous cost burden being imposed on businesses which is threatening the viability of many.”

Article Source – New State induced employment supports to cost tourism sector €456m this year – RTE

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UK posts bigger than expected budget deficit in February

Britain posted a larger budget deficit than expected in February, boosted by cost of living payments and the effect of past inflation on the public finances, official data showed today.

Public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, was £8.40 billion last month, down from £11.84 billion a year ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The reading was higher than any economist expected in a Reuters poll that had pointed to a deficit of around £5.95 billion pounds.

With a national election expected before the end of the year, the figures underlined how little room the next government will have to finance measures to boost Britain’s anaemic economy.

The ONS said government spending had been boosted by £2 billion of cost of living payments to households under existing schemes.

Inflation had also lifted the value of spending on social benefits as well as tax receipts – particularly for income and corporation taxes.

The data suggested finance minister Jeremy Hunt, whose Conservative Party lags far behind the opposition Labour Party in opinion polls, is on track to meet the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) borrowing forecast for 2023/24.

With only one month to go, the cumulative budget deficit for the financial year so far stood at £106.8 billion – down 4.1% compared with first 11 months of 2022/23.

Earlier this month, the OBR forecast a budget deficit for 2023/24 of £114.1 billion – meaning another £8 billion deficit in March would be enough to meet that forecast.

The outlook for 2024/25, which starts in April, looks trickier.

“Hunt’s aim to cut the deficit by a quarter to £87 billion in the coming financial year will be challenging to achieve given much-higher-than-inflation rises to the state pension, benefits and the minimum wage,” said Alison Ring, director of public sector and taxation at ICAEW, a trade body for chartered accountants.

“Pressure to find extra money for defence, local government and public services is only likely to grow as the general election approaches,” she added.

Article Source – UK posts bigger than expected budget deficit in February – RTE

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Residential property prices rise by 5.4% in January – CSO

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that residential property prices rose by 5.4% in the 12 months to January, up from 4.1% the previous month.

The CSO said that Dublin residential property prices saw an increase of 4.5%, while property prices outside Dublin were 6.1% higher than a year earlier.

Today’s CSO figures show that in the 12 months to January 2024, house prices in Dublin rose by 4.7% while apartment prices rose by 3.9%.

The CSO noted that the highest house price growth in Dublin was in Dublin City at 6.2% while Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown saw a rise of 2.6%.

Outside of Dublin, house prices were up by 6% and apartment prices rose by 7.4%.

The region outside of Dublin that saw the biggest increase in house prices was the Mid-West (Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary) with growth of 9.5%.

At the other end of the scale, the Border (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, and Sligo) saw a 2.4% rise.

Today’s CSO figures show that the median or mid-point price for a home stood at €330,000 in January.

It noted that the lowest median price paid for a home was €165,000 in Leitrim, while the highest was €620,000 in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.

Meanwhile, the most expensive Eircode area was A94 “Blackrock” with a median price of €720,000, while F45 “Castlerea” had the least expensive price of €134,000.

Today’s figures show that a total of 3,621 homes at market prices were filed with Revenue in January, a decrease of 1.5% when compared with the 3,675 purchases the same month last year.

The total value of transactions filed in January was €1.4 billion.

Existing dwellings accounted for 77.7% of the home deals filed in January, down 6% on the same time last year. 22.3% were new dwellings, an increase of 18.4%, the CSO said.

Revenue data also shows there were 1,304 first-time buyer purchases in January, an increase of 4.9% on the 1,243 recorded in January of last year.

Article Source – Residential property prices rise by 5.4% in January – CSO – RTE

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€750m paid to Revenue in unpublished tax settlements last year

Almost €750m was paid last year to Revenue in unpublished tax settlements with more than €200m of that linked to the finance and insurance industries.

The Revenue Commissioners said the 20 largest settlements – specific details of which are not made public – accounted for €383m in tax payments, or an average of around €19.2m each.

Altogether, there were 57,873 cases settled by Revenue in 2023 where companies or individuals reached agreement over underpaid tax without their identities or names being listed in defaulter lists.

Figures released under Freedom of Information show that of the €749m in unpublished settlements made last year, most cases related to companies with payments totalling €612m.

There were a further 18,804 cases involving individual taxpayers, which accounted for €121m of the tax paid as part of agreements on arrears.

Another €6.1mwas paid by 1,215 different partnerships while 213 “trusts estates” paid up just over €5m, according to the figures.

There were also 828 unincorporated bodies that made settlements totalling €4.1m as well as a small number of other miscellaneous cases.

The Revenue Commissioners said they would not provide any further detail on the 20 largest settlements apart from the €383m total that was paid.

They said any further breakdown of the figures could serve to identify the companies or individuals who were involved in the tax agreements.

A breakdown according to sector showed that finance and insurance accounted for more than a quarter of all the unpublished settlements that were made in 2023 with a total yield of €206m.

The next highest total was in the pharmaceutical sector where payments totalling €74.9m were made, followed by food manufacturing where there was €57m in settlements last year.

Other sectors where large tax payments were made included construction with €29m, public administration and defence at €32m and real estate activities at €28m.

There were also unpublished settlements of €7.2m in the sector of “arts, entertainment, and recreation” and €3.5m in “publishing, audiovisual and broadcasting activities”.

Under the compliance information framework of the Revenue Commissioners, companies can avoid details of settlements being made public by making qualifying disclosures, which include the tax payment and any interest due.

Legislation also excludes from publication cases with a value of less than €50,000, and in other circumstances specified under tax legislation.

An information note said that taxpayers who avail of opportunities to review their tax compliance and address or disclose any issues can benefit through minimum penalties and without the risk of publication or prosecution.

“Information on the full range of opportunities available to taxpayers for regularising tax and duty defaults are outlined in Chapter 2 [of] the Code of Practice for Revenue Compliance Interventions,” it stated.

Article Source – €750m paid to Revenue in unpublished tax settlements last year – RTE

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