Opening Bell: Apple criticises EU tax ruling, State's AIB stake sinks by €900m, Unilever's resistance

Get up to speed with today's breaking business news...

Apple has claimed that the European Commission's investigation into its tax payments in Ireland was flawed.

It believes that the Commission made "fundamental errors" during the probe and that additional evidence should have been examined.

The US firm has issued a 14 point appeal against the EU's finding.

Its primary argument is that activities relating to the creation of new IP happened in the US. "The profits from those activities are attributable to the US, not Ireland," the appeal states.

The Irish Government will also appeal against the decision, which would result in the US firm paying some €13bn in back taxes.

______________________________________________________

The value of the Irish State's stake in AIB has fallen by €900m - it was worth €11.3bn at the end of December according to the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund's quarterly report.

The Department of Finance says that this fluctuation will not affect the Government's plans to sell some 25% of its 99% holding.

The value of the 14% of Bank of Ireland which the State owns also fell by €400,000 to €1.1bn.

______________________________________________________

Further details have emerged regarding Kraft Heinz failed attempt to acquire Unilever.

The Guardian reports that Unilever signaled that "it would use every tool at its disposal to fend off a deal."

The newspaper says the group went, "on the offensive" to fight off the bid, while its chief executive Paul Polman made it clear that the board had no interest in the deal and that investors would be hard to sway.

______________________________________________________

Talks aimed at averting a strike at Bus Eireann resume later at the WRC.

But unions say they're not optimistic after management outlined €30m in cuts.

The company says it will be insolvent by the end of the year, without reductions in pay and conditions for drivers.

They're also suggesting a number of Expressway routes need to be cut.

Unions have rejected the company's solution.