Irish bakers could suffer as a result of a move by Revenue to significantly hike up the price of bagels, croissants and garlic bread.It has decided that these type of bakery products could increase in price by as much as 13.5%, because they were not sufficiently bread-like to be exempt from VAT.Michael Noonan, Ireland’s Finance Minister, met with representatives of the Irish baking industry to discuss the move and explained that nothing would change for at least a week until further consultations.Bakers, suppliers and retailers are thought to be angered by the decision as they felt they had not been properly informed about the new VAT rules, as well as the products that fall into this category, which could heavily affect their businesses. One supplier told The Irish Times that they had received no formal notification from Revenue and had only come across the information on its website by accident.
A military helicopter crashed Tuesday at an airport in Russia’s remote eastern Chukotka region, killing all four people on board, the governor said.The helicopter of the Russian defense ministry went down in the main airport in Chukotka near Anadyr, which has mixed military and civilian use.”There were three crew members and one technician on board. All four died,” governor Roman Kopin wrote on his Instagram account. Topics : Russian agencies reported that it was a Mi-8 helicopter which was doing a test flight after undergoing technical maintenance.”The reason for the accident could be a technical fault with the helicopter,” TASS news agency quoted a defense ministry statement as saying. Military investigators were dispatched to the crash site, it said.
The Western United Group Pension Scheme has begun its wind up process by insuring its remaining liabilities in a £280m (€350m) bulk annuity buyout with Rothesay Life.This is the third and final arrangement struck between the two parties, as Rothesay previously insured £220m of the scheme’s liabilities through buy-in contracts.The scheme is sponsored by the Vestey Group, which has supported the insuring of liabilities for the 14,000 member, £500m scheme.The scheme used a liability-driven investment (LDI) transition fund, operated by F&C Asset Management, which allowed the scheme to make the move from the pooled LDI holdings, reducing exposure to market risk and transaction costs. Independent chair of trustees, Peter Thompson, of BESTrustees, said securing the full buyout with Rothesay so soon was not on the agenda earlier in the year.“We were pleased that Rothesay Life was able to move very quickly to deliver a comprehensive solution and provide security for our members well ahead of schedule.”Vestey Group’s head of reward, Ben Fowler, added: “Less than two years ago we could not have envisaged securing a full buyout over this timeframe.“It requires a great deal of preparation and collaborative effort to complete these deals and we have been fortunate to have a committed group of trustees.”In other de-risking news, the trustees PGL Pension Scheme, 12,000 member scheme with over £1bn in assets, have arranged a longevity swap for around £900m of the scheme’s liabilities.The arrangement was agreed with Phoenix Life, an insurance company within the scheme’s sponsor company, Phoenix Group.Martin Bird, senior partner at Aon Hewitt, advisers to the trustees, said the deal highlighted the innovation within the longevity risk market, particularly around the use of associated insurers to access the reinsurance market.This mirrors similar deals done by the Aviva Pension Scheme which transferred £5bn of longevity risk to the reinsurance market, via its sponsor Aviva.The BT Pension Scheme set up a wholly owned insurer to directly access the reinsurance market for its £16bn deal last month.Matt Wilmington, partner in Aon Hewitt’s risk settlement business, said: “The arrangement was a win-win for trustees and Phoenix Life, reducing risk in the scheme and allowing the insurer to structure its capital arrangements more efficiently. “We also expect a number of other insurers who are in a similar position with large defined benefit pension schemes to consider a similar type of arrangement.”Law firm CMS Cameron McKenna advised the trustees.Partner, James Parker added: “Disintermediation is at the very cutting edge of developments in the longevity market and this transaction is strong evidence of a growing trend.”