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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We don't have a dedicated thread for economic related news and annoucements so here it is.


Starting off though with a disappointing story. I don't think we'll see Patton's disappear but the future structure of the company is uncertain and does nothing to stabilise the Northern Ireland property development sector which has been suffering terribly in recent years with some massive names now gone.

Ballymena firm Patton goes into adminstration

Administrators have been appointed to the Ballymena based Patton group.
The company had warned on Monday that it was facing serious financial problems.

The group had until recently managed to survive the downturn in construction industry and was behind a number of key construction projects. But last year it posted a loss of £7m.

It currently employs 320 staff in various parts of its construction business.
A family-run firm, Patton's has been in business for the past 100 years.
The administrators will now take over the day to day running of the businesses and decide its future.
BBC News
 

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Air passenger duty abolished on long haul flights

from BBC


The tax on long haul flights out of Northern Ireland has been abolished.

The Stormont assembly passed the final stage of the Air Passenger Duty Bill on Tuesday.

Duty on direct long haul flights departing from Northern Ireland airports will be reduced to zero from January 2013.

The abolition of the tax was welcomed by finance minister Sammy Wilson as a boost to the Northern Ireland economy.

"Direct air links facilitate local firms in doing business with customers outside the region," he said.

"They are also vital for the local tourism industry and in attracting foreign direct investment to Northern Ireland, both key to growing and rebalancing our economy.

"Abolishing air passenger duty on long haul flights will help to protect and improve our international air access and ensure the competitiveness of our airports."

John Doran, Belfast International Airport's managing director said: "Given the increasing differential with regard to direct long haul air passenger duty levels between the UK and Republic of Ireland, and the very specific problems which this caused for Northern Ireland connectivity, we are grateful to the Northern Ireland Executive and HM Treasury that decisive action has been taken.

"We now look forward with renewed vigour to building upon the success of our direct US air links, as well as reaching out into key additional long haul markets in Canada and the eastern hemisphere, in partnership with the investment and tourism authorities."
 

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Jump in visitor numbers boosts Belfast hotel optimism

Good news. Lets hope the improved numbers can be maintained next year.

Jump in visitor numbers...

Belfast hotels are enjoying a bumper 2012, thanks to a year of international promotion, according to the latest hotel forecast from advisors, PwC.
PwC’s UK hotels forecast 2013; After the Party, says Belfast’s increased hotel occupancy for the first eight months of 2012 is in stark contrast to London where occupancy levels are down 2% on 2011, with 2013 forecast to deliver London the lowest level of occupancy since 2005.

The PwC report, published Monday 5 November says the best performing cities thus far in 2012 have been Belfast and Aberdeen, benefitting in turn from Northern Ireland’s Our Time, our Place campaign and the relative buoyancy of the offshore oil and gas exploration sector.

The report says that the Titanic Belfast Festival and the opening of the iconic £97m visitor attraction delivered the biggest jump in March hotel occupancy in nearly a decade and a 12% year-on-year hike in revenues for Belfast hoteliers.

April saw year-on-year occupancy in leading Belfast hotels increase by 25%; the average daily rate (ADR) increase by 15% over April 2011, with overall revenues and revenues per available room (RevPAR) 45% ahead of April 2011.

Commenting on the report, PwC Belfast partner and hospitality expert Stephen Curragh said:
“Year-on-year occupancy, for the eight months to the end of September 2012 in Belfast Metro’s 38 leading hotels is up by 15%. RevPAR is up 20% and overall revenue has jumped by more than a fifth on the same period in 2011.
“While last year’s MTV Music Awards accounted for around 8,000 room nights, with the event delivering an estimated £22 million to the Belfast economy, it was March and the launch of the Titanic Belfast Festival that really saw a substantial jump in Belfast hotel occupancy and revenues.
“A test of Belfast’s performance was targeting 450,000 visitors to Titanic Belfast for all of 2012 and achieving the 500,000th visitor to by 19th September – just six months after opening.
“Overall, 2012 has been a successful year for Belfast hotels thus far, but it is off a very low base and will require sustained visitor numbers to bring Belfast back to pre-downturn levels of profitability.
“Next Augusts’ World Police and Fire Games will attract around 25,000 competitors and visitors and will deliver further strong and hopefully positive images of the region.
“Nevertheless, sustained campaigning and high profile events will be essential to boost the hospitality industry, not merely in Belfast, but across Northern Ireland; and as the convention and conference industry shows cautious optimism, that sector too, will demand aggressive marketing.
“2012 may have been our time, but keeping visitors coming to our place, will prove very challenging in an extraordinarily competitive market.”

The report says that the UK meetings and events sector has been badly impacted by the recession and previous experience suggests that this is often the last demand segment to recover, however, there has been some recent confidence that the downturn in this sector has bottomed out.
There is now some emerging optimism in the corporate sector rather than the not for profit sector, which may be anticipating some fall-out from the public sector cut-backs.
Leisure and business demand remains fragile, price sensitive and hard-pressed and PwC anticipates a challenging year ahead as available capacity, changes to company travel policy, and communications technology all impact on the sector.

In summary however, PwC says that renewed optimism for a modest revival in conference and event demand, and a continued resurgence in business travel should, ensure the slow UK hotel recovery continues.
 

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^^^^
That's brilliant, I was wondering what was going on with Air tax.

Your post wasn't there when I was typing Hypnotoad, sorry for the confusion. :lol:

Good news on the visitor front.
 

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Good thread guys....there is a similar topic over on the ROI Board and its great for collating all economic info in one place!

C
 

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Westwood Centre extension is approved

from BBC

A major extension of a west Belfast shopping centre has been approved by planners.


A major extension of the centre has been approved
They have given the green light to add new units to the Westwood Centre on Kennedy Way in the Andersonstown area.

A similar larger extension was approved in 2008, however it was not proceeded with due to the poor economic climate.

The centre is owned by Benmore Properties, a firm owned by the Belfast developer Kevin McKay.
 

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From BBC

Invest NI HQ building is put up for sale


The company that owns the Invest NI offices in Belfast city centre has put the complex up for sale.

Bedford Street Developments, a joint venture between Cookstown developer McAleer and Rushe and Dublin-based Dunloe Ewart, built the offices in 2005.

They were developed as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Invest NI.

The PPP is held in a company called MRDE Ltd and that firm's accounts suggest Invest NI paid about £4.7m in rent in 2011.

Other tenants of 100,000 sq ft development are the Public Prosecution Service and the Northern Ireland Law Commission.

The agent selling the premises, Osborne King, said it expects to achieve a price of more than £40m.

MRDE Ltd is owned by Bedford Street Developments which is controlled by the owners of McAleer and Rushe and a firm called Dunloe House (NI).

Dunloe House (NI) was formerly associated with the troubled Dublin developer Liam Carroll, though he resigned as a director in October.

The accounts of Bedford Street Developments state that its funders include the Irish government's National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

The accounts add that the firm entered into a five year agreement with Nama in 2011 which includes a gradual sale of properties and repayment of debt.

Stephen Surphlis, Property Director at McAleer and Rushe, said the sale was "part of our planned strategy aimed at exiting certain investment properties within our portfolio."

He added that investors would be interested in the PPP "by virtue of the government-backed nature of their return."
 

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From BBC

Wrightbus wins Hong Kong bus order


A Hong Kong-based bus company has ordered 50 new double-decker buses from the County Antrim firm, Wrightbus.

The Kowloon Motor Bus Company agreed the deal, with a view to ordering more vehicles from the Ballymena-based manufacturer in the near future.

Wrightbus is arranging for some of its shop floor workers to go to China to oversee the construction of the buses.

A number of Wrightbus staff involved in the order are learning Chinese ahead of their trip.

Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers are leading a business delegation to China on Monday for a six-day trade mission aimed at promoting investment and tourism.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are due to visit the headquarters of the Kowloon Motor Company on Saturday.
 

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BBC

House prices in Northern Ireland are still falling and are down 12% on this time last year, according to the latest figures.

They are now less than half of their peak value recorded around August 2007.

Since then they have fallen by 55%, according to the latest figures released by the Land and Property Sevices.

Apartments have seen the largest fall in value - down 61% with terraced properties falling by 59%.

While prices are still falling, the figures show that the pace of decline is slowing.

In the past three months they fell by just one percent.
 

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David Cameron says there will be an announcement in the next few weeks. Don't have the link to hand but it was in news a few days ago I think.
 

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I'd like to ask a question.

What tax powers does the Assembly have now?
 

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Northern Ireland planning system is a joke!

Our client wanted a relatively simple extension to an industrial unit, within an industrial park for a multinational corporation. You would think this would take a matter of months to achieve planning permission, but no it took one whole year. Is Northern Ireland open for business, no not really when this overly complex and bureaucratic system holds economic development up for so long.

I would assume coming from our clients point of view, Northern Ireland is not open for business and they probably will think twice about any future expansion plans here.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'd like to ask a question.

What tax powers does the Assembly have now?

Rates, long haul APD and water charges.


I wouldn't trust them with anything else, I'm only inclined to support corporation tax and short haul APD as HM Treasury would be closely monitoring it. I certainly wouldn't trust them with income taxation.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Concentrix Technologies creating 100 IT jobs in Belfast



Concentrix Technologies is part of the international Synnex Corporation, and provides customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Invest Northern Ireland is providing financial support of £749,000.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster met representatives of the company recently. "I am pleased such high quality jobs have been secured for local people," she said.

"These jobs will deliver in excess of £4m annually in salaries. This is proof that Northern Ireland remains one of the most competitive places in Europe for inward investors seeking talented people in a cost-competitive location."

Chris Caldwell, president, Concentrix Corporation, said: "Our European operations service a fast growing, dynamic market so when looking for potential locations for our expansion, Northern Ireland was immediately one of our main options.

"The support provided by Invest NI, the strength of the ICT sector and the resources on offer make our decision an easy one.

"We have already commenced recruitment at a range of levels from graduate to highly experienced software professionals and hope to have the first 20 developers in place by January 2013."

Concentrix Technologies' Belfast operation will be based at Lanyon Place. The company produces software for a wide range of business activities.
 

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Rates, long haul APD and water charges.


I wouldn't trust them with anything else, I'm only inclined to support corporation tax and short haul APD as HM Treasury would be closely monitoring it. I certainly wouldn't trust them with income taxation.
Cheers :)

A guy I know said reducing VAT is better than reducing corporation tax for growing an economy...is that right?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Bombardier managers in Northern Ireland have welcomed news of the largest business aircraft sale in its history.

Vistajet, a private jet charter firm, has signed a deal for up to 142 global business jets in a deal worth more than £4.8bn (US$7.8bn). Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, makes a number of components for the jet range.

In a statement, management in Belfast said the factory played a major role in the business jet sector. "This order - the largest ever business aircraft sale in Bombardier's history - will help to sustain jobs and secure our long-term future, in addition to benefiting our local supply chain," it said. "Bombardier in Belfast is responsible for the design and manufacture of a range of parts for the global aircraft family, including the forward fuselages, engine nacelles, horizontal stabilisers and other components."

The deal includes orders for 25 Global 5000 and 25 Global 6000 jets, parts for which are made in Belfast.

Steve Ridolfi, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft said they were "thrilled" Vistajet had picked them. "We welcome Vistajet's ongoing commitment to global coverage within existing and developing new markets," he said. "Our global aircraft are perfect for Vistajet's business strategy to deliver the ultimate business jet family to all corners of the world."

Bombardier, a Canadian company, came to Northern Ireland in 1989 when it bought Short Brothers plc from the UK government.
 

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Cheers :)

A guy I know said reducing VAT is better than reducing corporation tax for growing an economy...is that right?
It would lead to more consumption within the economy, therefore growing goods & services etc. However, it would do very little to increase FDI or address the problem we have here of a massive over reliance on the public sector.
 
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