IT’S BEEN A big week in the business world.
A household name is changing business strategy and will soon be pushing unfamiliar products in what could prove to be a fundamental change.
That’s right, Lidl is starting to sell expensive wine. Also Nama is moving into property development, or something.
What’s been going on in the world of business and economics? Read on to find out…
Need to know
Nama’s big move
In what seemed like a flashback to the boom years, ambitious plans were announced to develop an extension to the IFSC in the Dublin Docklands. You could be forgiven for having a sense of deja vu – it’s not the first time a plan like this has been floated.
What’s really interesting about this plan is who’s behind it.
Nama, the agency set up to tackle the toxic loans associated with Ireland’s ruinous property boom, this week announced that it would move into property development, with the Docklands scheme as its flagship development.
Ireland’s ‘Canary Wharf’, as Michael Noonan described it, grabs the headlines, but Nama is also planning to develop 22,000 residential units, hoping to ease the housing crisis in the capital.
They’re doing all this because it looks like the majority of their original brief will be done and dusted by the end of 2016, when 80% of its original payload of bad loans will be sold.
Noonan said he had considered winding the agency up two years ahead of schedule when the last loan was sold in 2018, but instead has set it to work solving the commercial and residential real estate headaches in Dublin.
Will it work? Only time will tell.
A time-bomb in the mortgage market? That can’t be good…
While Nama is looking to the future, the Central Bank was warning that the ghosts of boomtime past aren’t finished with us yet.
This time, it’s interest-only mortgages that are causing the problem.
According to a paper published by Dame Street researchers this week, a significant number of mortgages that were issued from 2005-2008, mainly for buy-to-let apartments in Dublin, were done with a ten-year holiday on repayments on the principal sum.
Now, many of those mortgages will switch to significantly higher repayments over the coming years.
According to the Central Bank, these loans are at high risk of slipping into arrears and joining the tens of thousands of mortgages that have fallen drastically behind on their repayment schedule.
As we saw last week, the country is already dealing with a millstone of mortgage debt.
Nice to know
- Three Ireland’s takeover of 02 Ireland was finally completed for €780 million, despite the protestations of the Communication Regulator
- There’s no sign of Dublin’s commercial property bubble slowing down, with domestic outfit Hibernia REIT shelling out €90 million for two IFSC office blocks.
- The Insolvency Service of Ireland copped some stick from the Irish Mortgage Holder’s Association, which branded the ISI as ‘unfit for purpose’ after low figures for debt deals were published this week.
- Dublin could have a direct flight to Addis Ababa, and one to Los Angeles, if a deal between the airport and the Ethiopian national airline goes through.
- Early in the week, research from the Kemmy Business School in Limerick showed that thousands of software jobs could head overseas due to a skills shortage in the Irish workforce.
- Airbus said that it would patent ‘moped-style’ airplane seats. Hmm…something tells us they may be taking PR lessons from Messrs O’Leary and Bezos.
- Irish small firms are demanding a level playing field in the October budget after getting a raw deal in recent years.
Now you know
- Companies linked to the NDRC pulled down €40 million in investments last year
- BMW recalled 8,500 cars in Ireland, part of a massive call-back after faults were discovered in 1.6 million 3 Series around the world
- More than 1,000 Irish pubs have had to shut since the recession began, according to the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland
- Milano’s was sold to a Chinese private equity giant.
Property investors still love Ireland, but a resurgent market in Spain may distract their attention… Microsoft announced that it is cutting 18,000 jobs around the world, although early indications are that its Irish outfit may be spared… The ESRI’s John Fitzgerald said that he reckons the next Government will have to hike water charges… Michael O’Leary signed on with Ryanair for another five years… Bord Gais shipped a big impairment charge linked to its Whitegate gas powered station.
One for the road
We’re all familiar with the 1% – the idea that 99% of American wealth is controlled by 1% of the population.
However, according to a research paper by the European Central Bank, share of wealth concentrated among the most well-off families in Europe could be even higher than that.