Today in the press

CREDITORS TO LOSE €5.56m OVER KIELY RETAIL COMPANY COLLAPSE – Proposals by the administrators for the collapsed Orla Kiely fashion retail empire that will leave unsecured creditors £5m (€5.56m) out of pocket have been approved.

In new documents lodged with Companies House in the UK, administrators Chris Newell and Simon Bonney confirm that their proposals have been approved, writes the Irish Independent. The fashion retail company – co-owned by Ms Kiely and her husband, Dermott Rowan went out of business in September – with debts of more than £7.25m. The administrators’ proposals were circulated to creditors on November 15th last and were deemed to be approved on November 27th. The administrators made their proposals after finding that there was a deficiency of £7.5m in the business. In separate documentation lodged by Mr Rowan with Companies House indicates that the couple’s own financial exposure as unsecured creditors could be high as £2m. The two had loaned £1m in directors’ loans to the business while the Statement of Affairs lodged by Mr Rowan on behalf of the business states that an additional £1.1m was owed by the business to related parties of the firm. In addition, trade and expense creditors are not to receive any of the £2m owed to them by the business.

RYANAIR CLAIMS IT COULD LOSE €5m A YEAR OVER TAX – Ryanair claims it could lose €5 million a year because of a “peculiar” Irish taxation provision which means its non-Ireland-based staff are effectively taxed on the double.

It also says the punitive nature of the provision was a factor in its decision to close its base in Romania after aircrew there found themselves paying 70% of their earnings in tax and resignations followed. A Romanian pilot on a €150,000 annual salary would come out with just €38,700 after he/she had paid tax/social insurance locally while also having to pay PAYE tax plus the Universal Social Charge here, the airline said. The claims are made in Ryanair’s High Court action against the Minister for Finance and Revenue seeking the striking down of the taxation provision, section 127B of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. It was first applied in 2011 but, Ryanair says it has had the effect of singling out its aircrew due to changes to their taxation treatment in their home countries, says the Irish Times. Section 127B makes the income of any individual “whether resident in the State or not” taxable from any employment aboard an aircraft and where the aircraft is operated by an enterprise whose management is in this State. Ryanair wants this provision struck down or disapplied because it says it is contrary to EU law.

UL TEAM LEAD €8m ELECTRIC CAR CHARGE – A team at the University of Limerick (UL) is to lead a €8m EU-funded research project to help improve the performance of electric cars.

Researchers at UL’s Bernal Institute will head up the Si-Drive project and will focus on how to get more out of lithium batteries to improve driving range, cost and recharge times, says the Irish Examiner. Leader of the project, Professor Kevin Ryan said: “This project will tackle the major barriers to EV uptake, which relate to driving range, cost and recharge times by completely re-imagining the lithium ion battery using innovative anode, cathode and electrolyte materials.” There has been a huge continent-wide push towards electric vehicles in recent years, amplified by the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. However, despite incentives made by various governments to encourage take-up, as well as the promise of a crackdown on diesel emissions in leading European city centres, the uptake has been slower than anticipated. Just 2% of European vehicles are currently electric, despite an EU target of 40% by 2030. Irish car owners have consistently voiced their concerns over expense, range and charging points. There are around 6,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads at present.

GLOBAL PAY GAP WILL TAKE 202 YEARS TO CLOSE, SAYS WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM – The global pay gap between men and women will take 202 years to close, because it is so vast and the pace of change so slow, according to the World Economic Forum.

The WEF, which organises the annual meeting of business and political leaders in Davos, said the global gender pay gap has narrowed slightly over the past year, but the number of women in the professional workplace has fallen. In 2017, the WEF estimated that it would take 217 years to close the pay gap, writes today’s Guardian. “The overall picture is that gender equality has stalled,” Saadia Zahidi, the WEF’s head of social and economic agendas, said. “The future of our labour market may not be as equal as the trajectory we thought we were on.” The WEF found that on average women across the world are paid just 63% of what men earn. There is not a single country where women are paid as much as men. Laos, in south-east Asia, is the closest to achieving parity with women earning 91% of what men are paid. Yemen, Syria and Iraq have the biggest pay gaps with women being paid less than 30% the level of mens’ wages. “In the workplace, women still encounter significant obstacles in taking on managerial or senior official roles,” the report said.