unnamedPlease find below a review of this week’s business pages.

Business Post

There are reams of pages about the new Government and plenty of lobbying articles, as well as plenty of coverage of Brexit.

Ian Guider compares the fortunes of BHS and Clerys and contrasts the reaction from both Governments.

“Michael O’Flynn is appealing against Dun Laoighre Rathdown’s refusal last July to grant planning permission for 164 houses at Beech Park in Cabinteely.” The council claim that a link road required for the site must be 100% built and O’Flynn’s defence is that it can be partially built to facilitate his scheme.

Irish Cement are not accepting a CPO at the price offered for 88 acres of land it owns in the harbour in Foynes, Co. Limerick. Shannon Foynes Port Company want to build one of the biggest bulk harbours in Europe on the site.

David McCourt of Granahan McCourt who bought Enet and AirSpeed Telecom has a very large business called Skyware Technologies, which develops sophisticated satellite terminals for government and military use. He is exploring setting up the R&D function here which would generate 200 new jobs.

Hines are said to be in the lead for bidding for Larry Goodman’s Setanta Centre at an estimated €90m value. Noel Smyth and Mark Kavanagh are also said to be in the race. Hines have picked up a lot of property in Ireland in recent years, most notably the Cherrywood complex and the Liffey Valley Centre.

It is understood that Apollo, Cerberus and a leading Spanishowned family hotel chain are the frontrunners for the Gresham hotel at a price of €85m. Tifco were just off the ticket price and may be allowed into a final bids round by Christie and CBRE who are managing the sale for NAMA. Patrick Coyle’s consortium were just out of the top four. 80 parties considered buying the hotel which shows the money out there which is waiting to be spent. Blackstone have put the €140m Burlington hotel (now Doubletree by Hilton) up for sale last month and I’m sure the same parties will be pursuing it,

The fight between Sean Quinn and Quinn Industrial Holdings management, most of whom were previous senior management when Quinn owned the business, seems to be escalating. Quinn seems to think he is entitled to more of a say at board level and a shareholding, in addition to his €500k per annum consultancy agreement. Quinn said last week, “I can confirm that there were commitments made to me and my family at the time of the restructuring and thereafter by certain local stakeholders and I can confirm that I have asked those local stakeholders to clarify their position in respect of these commitments”. Quinn was critical of the top eight people being paid €2.5m in basic salary plus bonuses and thought its margins were too low, despite having turned a €14.6m loss into a €5.9m profit.

AIB Private Banking take out an advert with the lead picture showing Catherine Guy of Byrne Wallace accepting the Law Firm of the Year award. Beauchamps won the Banking, Finance/Restructuring & Insolvency Law Team/Lawyer of the year. There is also a Q&A with Byrne Wallace’s Catherine Guy.

BOI are advertising their National Enterprise Week in all papers and encouraging people to engage.

Due to changes in Irish company law, Penneys will now be filing the accounts of one of its Irish subsidiaries in the CRO, which will show its profitability.

Pat Phelan and 24 year-old Illann Power have set up a €25m super angel fund called Nohovation. They plan to pick ten companies that need €1m and leave €15m aside for follow-on funding.

There is a fascinating feature in the magazine in the Bus Post profiling teenagers who are making a name for themselves as significant entrepreneurs in Ireland.

Davidson Kempner, Varde Partners, Oaktree Capital and Marathon Asset Management are in talks about pooling their Irish shopping centre assets into a publicly quoted REIT. Some would say this indicates that the exit for these funds is not as easy as they thought it would be.

Bill Nowlan is said to have spoken to New Ireland and Irish Life with regard to raising a few hundred million fund to provide social housing. Bartra, Clyde Partners and IRES are all chasing this space also. New Housing Minister Simon Coveney will no doubt be getting a call from all of the above players in the weeks ahead.

Gaelectric is said to have a lot of bidders for the portfolio of wind assets it is selling for an estimated price of €250m.

Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon officially launched its rebrand last week; it will now trade as RSM Ireland. John Glennon, managing partner, is in the Business Post announcing same. Worldwide, RSM are the 6th largest audit, tax and consulting network and the 8th largest in Ireland. The re-brand is part of a deal whereby their international partners have all committed to work a lot closer together in order to become a truly global firm, while not compromising any of their local service.

Róisín Burke secured a great interview with Wilbur Ross. He believes by supporting BOI they helped the economy recover as they approached the broken balance sheet constructively and did not foreclose on loans. Some of his profit on his massive investment gain in BOI has been reinvested in his mezzanine building fund JV with Cardinal Capital, the WLR Cardinal Mezzanine Fund; ISIF are also an investor in this fund. Regarding Irish property, he reminds us that “at some point there’s the danger that the market gets overbuilt again, you know. I don’t think we’re there yet by a long shot, but real estate markets go that way, they’re very volatile”. His punts on Greece are not as immediately successful as his ones on Ireland were. He commends John Hourican for turning around Bank of Cyprus. He has sold six times as many assets as he bought last year and warns that we are seven years into a global recovery and “most recoveries don’t last much longer than that. So I think this is a period to be a little cautious.”

New York-listed Ardmore Shipping reported a 31% rise in net profit for Q1 this year from $5.1m to $6.7m. They have 24 vessels.

Gene Murtagh is interviewed in the Business Post and stresses how important it is that the country does not lose the run of itself looking for big wage increases. After an M&A splurge of €550m, Kingspan’s revenues are likely to top €3bn this year. It is experiencing growth in Ireland of 10-12%, but still 70% below 2007 levels.

Peter O’Neill, head of the Irish Forestry Fund, is aiming to raise €500m from international investors to spend on Irish forestry lands.

Brody Sweeney’s Camille Thai is expanding outside of Dublin. Galway hurler Joe Canning is partnering with Michael Hughes and John Greene to open in Parkway Retail Park in Limerick. Canning said he was taken at how healthy the food was and that there is a big gap for healthy fast-food.

Carlyle Cardinal Ireland has invested in Derry e-learning company Learning Pool. John Dolan and Jonathan Cosgrave will sit on the board.

Very interestingly, Cairn Construction has raised €30k through crowdfunding. Not to be confused with the billion euro Cairn Homes who raised its money through an IPO.

The Business Post pulled down a story from Bloomberg which heralds the rise of Uncle Mo, a racehorse bought by a billionaire who sold a significant share to Coolmore late in his racing career and agreed to stand the stallion in their Kentucky stud and who has shot to the top of the charts and sired last night’s Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.

Jim Mulqueen (Grant Thornton), Patrick Sutton (O’Kelly Sutton), JP Wynne (Drohan Ryan Wynne and co), Chris Ball (RBK) and many others all look dashing collecting collecting their various gongs at the Irish Accountancy Awards.

Next Saturday’s Legal and Finance Network event in Lansdowne FC (the Aviva)  is shaping up to be a great day with Anne Heraty, Gary McGann, Ivan Yates, Kingsley Aikins, Dr Olivia Hurley, Eoin Redden, Alan Brogan and Róisín Hogan among the guest speakers. The first half of the day Tag Rugby is sold out and there are a few spaces available for the mid-afternoon session where the guests will speak followed by BBQ and drinks.

Michael Cotter of Park Developments has formed a company with Kevin McGillycuddy (Brehon Capital). Seán O’Neill and Martin Carroll are also directors. It is said to be a venture targeted at building in the Grand Canal area.

Pat Doherty’s Harcourt Developments is starting construction on a 19-acre site at Bellingham Port in Northwest US. His Irish loans that were in NAMA make up the €700m Project Abbey portfolio currently on the market.

The monthly IT magazine Connected is jam-packed this month.

Sunday Independent

New Generation’s Greg Kavanagh and former business partner Mark Murray may have to go to court to settle a part-ownership dispute in relation to Neptune House in Blackrock.

A court in Los Angeles has granted Ryanair permission to trace the identities of the anonymous Twitter users who threatened to blow up a plane if they didn’t pay over $50m from US telecom companies Verizon and Sprint. Ryanair issued suits against c.100 unidentified people in February, however to date have been unable to identify them.

ReproMed, an Irish fertility business set up in 2009 by embryologist Declan Keane, has secured backing from a Czech investment fund, FutureLife Holdings. Keane has said the investment will help open more locations in Ireland and open up a European network of reproductive resources. “Demand for IVF services is rising as people increasingly delay having children”.

With six months to go to this year’s WebSummit, now in Lisbon, the organisers have so far sold about 27,000 tickets to the event. At the same time last year, only 1,317 tickets were sold for the Dublin event. A modest overall increase in attendee numbers overall is projected at 50k people, 8k more than the 42k that attended Dublin last year.

The HSE board has approved the business case for a new “e-health plan designed to digitalise Ireland’s health system”. This would see the conversion of all health records to a digital version by 2019. The expected cost of the project is between €609m and €875m. Department of Health and Government approval is now required.

Clanwilliam Healthcare, led by CEO Howard Beggs, is targeting to spend €80m on three to four acquisitions per year for the next five years. The focus is the UK and Ireland, however they “are actively engaged with companies further afield” according to Beggs.

Financial technology start-up CurrencyFair recorded a loss of €3.22m in 2015, following a €2.63m loss in 2014. The business provides “low-cost foreign exchange services based on a peer-to-peer model.” Losses arise for considerable investment in scaling the business as it vies for a share of a huge global market. CurrencyFair’s main competitor is UK-based start-up TransferWise who has reached the $1bn valuation following a $58m funding round in 2015.

Denis O’Brien-backed cloud and IT disaster recovery business Another 9 has invested €3m in Commercium Technologies Inc (CTI), a New Jersey-based security software company. The investment will be used by CTI to help scale and increase its product offering. INM chairman, Leslie Buckley, will become chairman of CTI Global.

Kingspan has expanded its reach in the Middle East with an investment in Iran with which it will seek to take advantage of “future upgrades in the country’s airport infrastructure”. The investment will be run out of its UAE-based businesses.

Mainstream Renewable Power wants an IPO by the end of 2018. Led by CEO and founder Eddie O’Connor, the business is currently looking to raise €100m in equity. O’Connor has said that there is a “significant level of appetite to become part of the Mainstream growth story from third-party Institutional and strategic investors.” The business made €96m after-tax last year, up from €50m in 2014.

Galway builders Brian and Luke Comer have spent over €75m in the past 6 months on properties in Ireland, the UK and Germany, with a further €200m expected to be spent in these countries in the next 18 months. They have taken in €300m from property sales in the UK and Germany over the past 18 months. They have bought over 250 apartments in Galway, Meath, Dublin and Kildare since December, with many of these being purchased from so-called “vulture funds”.

Dan O’Brien uses the backdrop of the elections in Northern Ireland to focus on the region’s economy. He notes the move of the focus towards economic issues, rather than the sectarian division of the past. He highlights that Northern Ireland’s fiscal deficit in 2013-2014 was £9.3bn, or around 25% of its GDP, and that GDP per capita in the country was the second lowest in the UK and Ireland (after Wales) and well below the EU average. O’Brien stresses the serious negative impact Brexit would have on the region, particularly when 37% of the North’s exports are to the Republic.

The Business Insider section suggests that Bank of Ireland’s hiring of Robert Sharpe as chairman could herald the beginning of a strategy of acquisition for the bank in the UK. After releasing its results in March, Richie Boucher said the bank would consider acquiring rivals in the UK market and Sharpe is well-experienced in such an acquisitive strategy in the UK.

The Insider section notes that CIE sold a 17.5% stake in the PWC building to Davy for c.€22.5m in December 2012; based on the current price tag of €242m for the whole building, the value of this stake has now almost doubled.

The Insider also covers the appointment of veteran dealmaker and venture capitalist Walter Hobbs to the Board of Enterprise Ireland.

Sean Gallagher’s piece is with Alison Ritchie of Laois-based Polar Ice. The dry ice manufacturer was established in 1996 by Ritchie, her father and two of his brothers. Although she was only 15 at the time, her father and uncles promised her 25% of the business if she worked there at weekends and during school holidays, which she did. The company now employs 17 staff and has a turnover of €2m.

Richard Curran questions where the Government is expecting to get the funding required for the expenditure projects it has promised. He notes that it will take a lot more than a sugar drinks tax and an increase in tobacco tax to achieve this. He highlights that the Government plan is highly dependent on continued strong economic growth over the period, which may be a dangerous assumption given the global economic uncertainty.

Curran also notes that Paddy Power Betfair has traded well since its merger, despite losing £20m on Cheltenham. He highlights the shift towards online betting and particularly mobile, which now accounts for 76% of all online bets according to Paddy Power Betfair, while the companies’ retail and Australian operations continue to perform strongly.

Adrian Weckler shines a light on the significant detrimental impact the delay in rollout of the National Broadband Plan will have on the ability of rural areas to attract companies.

Sunday Times

Cathy Kearney, head of Apple’s European operations, has expressed her concern to Cork City Council about the lack of suitable housing for staff amid her plans to expand the HQ, another reminder of our housing problem, this time form Cork.

Simon Coveney, the new housing minister, looks to have a very ambitious target in front on him: 18k social houses by the end of 2017. The finance minister, Michael Noonan, said last week that a broad base cut (13.5%-9%) on VAT for new houses would cost €210m, and added that he remained unconvinced that the measure would help first-time buyers, so a VAT cut may be less likely than previously thought.

The State has committed not to sell more than 25% of AIB by the end of 2018. With the proposed IPO kicked out until 2017, Brian Carey suggests that it could be a good opportunity for the State to bide its time and sit back and accrete dividends; the new government could take c.€150m-€200m from a maiden dividend this year. Next year it could secure a €400m-€500m dividend as a 75% shareholder in the bank.

Blanchardstown shopping centre failed to match the expected €1bn price tag. Green Property rejected a bid from a Canadian pension fund and opted for a lower bid from Blackstone, advocating certainty of closure as the rationale. Buyer fatigue and transition may be at play in the market. With Vernon and Goodman selling up some of their crown jewels and Wilbur Ross warning about overheating, it is worth taking note.

Film relief remains an important pedestal for the film industry in Ireland. A new thriller starring Pierce Brosnan and Anna Friel has just qualified for €2.4m in film relief. Other big productions qualifying include TV3’s Red Rock drama and the documentary about equality campaigner Rory O’Neill, aka Panty Bliss.

Irish Distillers is set to receive €90m from the sale of its Paddy Irish Whiskey brand to Sazerac, which is owned by Pernod Ricard. Sazerac bought the Southern Comfort and Tuaca liqueur brands for €476m from Brown Forman in January. Sources say that, based on the price, the Jameson brand could be worth up to €3bn.

Worldview Capital Management is set to take control of Petroceltic, the Irish oil and gas explorer that entered examinership in early March, ending a long period of acrimony between Worldview, which is run by former Deutsche Bank trader Angelo Moskov, and the board of Petroceltic.

Emmet O’Neill, the former chief executive of Topaz, has taken a 10% stake in Denis O’Brien’s exclusive Quinto do Lago resort in Portugal and his PGA Catalunya resort in Spain. The assets where withdrawn from the market last year after failing to hit the €220m asking price in the market.If he does half as well as he did with a similar trade in Topaz, he will be a happy man.

The Brennan family, owners of the eponymous bread business, have paid €35m for the Tommy Hilfiger store on Grafton Street. The building was sold by German bank Deka, who bought the building for €25m in 2009. Tommy Hilfiger is paying €1.7m rent for the 900 sq m property, i.e. a 4.9% yield.

Cleverbug, founded by Kealan Lennon, has raised €2.6m to fund a move into the retail gift market.

Irwin Stelzwer summarises the US electorates options: Hilary Clinton who is seen by the majority of voters as “dishonest” and Donal Trump, a “misogynist bigot”.

Danske Bank has hired KPMG to flog its €2bn mortgage bank as it embarks on its final exit phase from the Irish market.

The former POD nightclub is being sold by Morrisseys.

TV3 will begin casting for its version of Gogglebox in the next fortnight.

Galway-born property developer Luke Comer is challenging a decision to turn down his plans for an equine centre of excellence at the site of the former Kilternan sports and golf club.

Property developer Aidan Harrison, owner of the Blanchardstown corporate park in Dublin, has exited Nama by refinancing his group’s €76m debts with London-based Hayfin Capital Management.

Chartered Accountants Ireland, which represents 24,500 professionals, recorded a surplus of €2.8m last year after cutting the amount set aside to cover the cost of investigating members.

Hyundai Ireland is to sponsor RTE’s Euro 2016 television, radio and digital package which kicks off next month. The deal is set to be worth €200k.

The Burlington hotel in Dublin, which is being sold by private equity group Blackstone, is generating operating profits of €14m. Blackstone, who are currently selling the hotel, are expecting a price tag of €200m for the hotel The hotel was bought for €67m in 2012.

MOOCALL, a Dublin company whose app predicts when a cow will calve, has raised €750k in funding from businessman Michael Smurfit, bringing the total funds raised to €1.7m.

Magners, the name under which Bulmers trades internationally, is getting a packaging makeover. The drinks brand manager Andrew Cross said “research has shown young adults find the category boring”.

Morehampton Foods, sister company of the Donnybrook fair chain, has just raised €1m from 38 investors. Investors included Cyril Forbes of Microfinance Ireland, CPL’s Mark Buckley, Aidan Brady and Brian Woodlock who have links to Citibank.

Former Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA) executive Brian Goulding plans to convert the former Northbrook hotel in Ranelagh into a private residence. Goulding co-founded the aircraft leasing company Pembroke Group, which was backed by Dermot Desmond, and cashed in when a 50% stake in the business was sold for €52.5m in 2001.

Mayo-based Nephin whiskey has raised €750k. Three executives from the Dublin office of Riot Games, the company behind League of Legends, Naoise Craven, Paul Breslin and Travis George invested €300k.

Brian Carey has good piece of Johnny Ronan covering his exit from Nama and his ambitious plans for the future.

Gavin Daly’s interview is with Donald Fitzmaurice, founder of Brandtone.

Dundalk-based Spectac, a specialist steel fabricator owned by the Faye family, has been re-energised by Faye Healy, daughter of founder Tony and is planning to double turnover to €8m this year.


@RenatusCapital tweets this week:

3% – Proportion of business leaders in ROI and NI in favour of Brexit, according to new survey by Coyne Research.Source:@IrishTimesBiz

26% – Increase in number of car registrations in first four months of 2016 compared to same period last year.Source:@IrishTimesBiz

62% – Proportion of Irish workers who expect a pay rise in 2016, according to new Hays survey.Source:@IndoBusiness

4.9% – Latest European Commission estimate for Irish GDP growth in 2016, while Eurozone is forecast to grow by 1.6%.Source:@IrishTimesBiz

€500m – Amount by which Exchequer tax receipts were ahead of target for first 4 months of the year.Source:@IrishTimesBiz

8.4% – Ireland’s unemployment rate in April, with youth unemployment falling to 18% from 19.1% in March.Source:@IrishTimesBiz

2.5% – Rise in mortgage lending in Q1 2016 compared to Q1 2015, although loans extended to first-time buyers fell 8%. Source:@IrishTimesBiz

59.8 – April reading on the Investec Purchasing Managers’ Index for services, a 26-month low. Source:@IrishTimesBiz

PS – Renatus work with businesses who need €1-3m equity investment, make at least €500k sustainable EBITDA, and have excellent growth potential.

If you would like to be added to the weekly mailing list, please email me (mark@renatus.ie) or send a LinkedIn request https://ie.linkedin.com/in/markflood1

Mark Flood | Director | Renatus Capital Partners
T: +35315549269
M: +353868392688
63 Mount Street Lower | Dublin 2
Renatus place €1-3m in cash generative companies with growth potential.