Opening Bell: Dublin retailers feel strike pain, Gresham Hotel sold, Obama closes tax loopholes

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Dublin retailers are calling on all involved in the Dublin Bus strike to 'get talking' and 'get the buses moving'.

Richard Guiney, CEO of the business group DublinTown, has said they are already feeling a drop in trade and are worried about the damage that could be caused by a prolonged strike.

"Obviously the transport into the city centre is vital," he said. "Not only for the businesses in the retail and hospitality [sector] who rely on the bus service to provide basically 40% of their customer base, but also in terms of people working in offices being able to access their place of work.

"So the transport system is integral to the Dublin economy and this industrial action is having very significant reverberations right across the economy."

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A statutory commission of investigation into NAMA's sale of Project Eagle has been agreed to in principle.

The Government and opposition have met in the wake of the C&AG report that found that the taxpayer potentially lost out on as much as €220 million on the sale of the Northern loanbook.

Opposition leaders will be able to make submissions on what should be investigated.

Sinn Féin's Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said that these submissions will be crucial in the formation of the inquiry:

"We wanted acknowledgement that there would be a commission of investigation.

"The second thing is we wanted a process where the parties and groups could input into the scope of the commission of investigation and that was acceded to as well, where we would get an opportunity to submit our views. We gave some of them verbally – that it should be modular, it shouldn't be as restrictive as Project Eagle..."

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The Gresham Hotel has been sold to the Spanish group RIU for €92 million.

RIU fended off competition from US private equity firms Apollo and Cerberus and finalised the deal this week.

The iconic hotel, which has stood for almost two centuries on O'Connell Street, was put on the market by NAMA earlier this year.

It had been owned by builder Bryan Cullen's Precinct Investments, a vehicle used in 2004 to take the then-stock market-listed Gresham Hotel Group private in a €117m deal.

Luis Riu, chief executive of RIU Hotels & Resorts, said:

"Dublin is now one of the most interesting cities for investment.

"Its tourism industry is booming, demand for rooms rising and the city is putting a lot of money into its infrastructure. We are extremely pleased with the purchase of this hotel in one of the most beautiful European capitals.

"We are sure that it will be the perfect addition to our collection of Riu Plaza hotels and many returning RIU clients will be drawn to discovering this destination with us."

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The Obama administration has moved to limit the use of foreign tax credits by US multinational companies to reduce their tax bills at home.

The US Treasury confirmed that it was tightening restrictions on these credits on Thursday, as it closes tax loopholes following the European Commission's decision that Apple owes Ireland some €13 billion in back taxes.

According to Reuters, the new rule will prevent multinationals from "splitting", a strategy that allows them to bring foreign tax credits into the US without repatriating the income from which the derived.

Apple had no comment on the tax notice.