Client Login

Sunday Papers

Sunday Independent

The 22.5% stake that AIB sold in US lender M and T Bank and Polish Bank for €4.4bn is now worth €9.7bn. The Indo lead with this which is after the benefit of hind sight. They never said at the time it was a poor price as it was market price at the time.

Jury’s Inn was bought for €1.1bn pre-crash by a Derek Quinlan vehicle. It was sold to Lone Star last year for €900m. Ulster bank recovered most of its original debt through a debt for equity swap that was valued at nothing in 2013. In 2013 the original shareholders (now managed by Avestus) diluted their share and took an injection of equity from the Oman Investment Fund and Mount Kellett Capital. They are the real winners in the sale.

Shane Ross scrutinised the TD asset register and chuckles at the amount of property owned by Labour Party TDs. They used to have the title of ‘men of no property’. He also exposes the fact that Gerry Adams receives a pension from the Queen of England.

Julian Shovlin (son of Paddy) is finalising a funding round of €2.1m to expend his five store mobile phone/tablet repair and customisation business. He hopes to open another seven stores.

The Indo makes a news story out of Paddy Power’s recently published annual report saying the Facebook betting product, a mobile casino and a betting challenge are all being culled. None of these were ever projected to change Paddy Power’s world so this is not big news.

O’Haras Brewery, based in Carlow, has taken over Porterhouse as Ireland’s biggest craft brewer. All these guys really have a battle on their hands to take any significant market share from Diageo/Heineken/ C&C.

Richard Curran says that the fact that permanent TSB has an estimated value of €1.6bn ahead of an IPO shows how much we have recovered. It was worth nothing a few years ago.

It wouldn’t be a Sunday without speculation about a possible TV3 sale. Doughty are expected to lose €265m. Speculation is that Cardinal/Carlyle are making a bid for the company. The Times report that London based Quayle Munro have been appointed as advisers to the Vendors under the charge of Simon Gluckstein.

Bernard Byrne is now widely regarded as the man likely to get the top job in AIB. The bank will have to update shareholders on April 28 at its annual meeting. David Duffy is due to leave for Clysdale on 1 May.

Richard Curran tries to look behind the numbers of Ardagh. Its earnings are trending downwards (€213m in 2013 from €298m in 2011) its debt of €4.7bn very high. Without knowing the story my guess is that the run rate EBITDA would be higher than the historic but I have not studied the numbers. I would guess the business is in better shape than the picture painted by historic figures.

Ray Nolan, estimated to have made €100m from the sale of hostelworld tips Mark Roden’s Ding as the next billion dollar Irish company.

Stephen Cooney and Brian O’Malley have taken over Solas bar on Wexford Street for €2.5m. They already have acquired the Bath, the Old Spot and the Leopadstown Inn.

Starwood have acquired €450m of property in Ireland to-date including the recent acquisition of the Watermarque building. They are buying through a Trust and seem to be taking a long term view.

Sunday Times

Fiona O’Carroll has resigned as director of Digital for INM. Samantha McCaughren also notes that she heard Gerry Walsh, the most senior digital ad executive is also leaving. It seems like the challenging task of monetising the many digital eyeballs Indo have will have to fall to some future new hires. Unlike companies like Ladbrokes who struggle with their Digital Strategy in a profitable space, there are not many peer media companies batting the ball out of the park when it comes to generating digital revenues.

Mexican company Jose Cuervo who bought Bushmills last year has appointed David Phelan, founder of Boru Vodka and Coole Swan, as head of global retail travel and of Ireland.

Other interesting appointments spotted by McCaughren include;
• Bobby Healy (ex Car Trawler) to Chill insurance; and
• Rose McHugh (ex Merrion) to Xia Lan Hotels, owners of Fota Island.

Structadene a company owned by David Pearl has initiated legal action against IBRC over £29m paid in fixed interest swaps relating to no. 431-451 Oxford Street. It appears they are looking for a refund from IBRC. The Aidan Brooks’ vehicle who bought it for £127m in 2013 is not affected by the challenge. The property is now for sale for c. £300m having been redeveloped since acquisition.

Clarendon (Tony Leonard and Paddy McKillen) and Tetrach (McElligott/Byrne ex Brehon) are understood to have both placed bids to Gordon Brothers in the region of €20m for Clerys. IBI are acting for the Gordon Brothers.

Colm Lyons neighbour, John Mooney invested €20k in Realex and netted nearly €3.5m when the company was sold for €115m. Lyon and his wife owned 80%. Lyon said that his friends and family backed him when nobody else wood and it is great to see their judgement and loyalty rewarded.

Brian Carey tracks the debts owed by developer Sean Reilly of €300m that contained the assets within the €350m paid by Starwood to Lone Star. The distribution of the €50m profit based on Carey’s back-of-envelope calculations is thus:
• €130m profit for Lone Star,
• A cost of €80m for tax payer.

The split of the €80m is booked as follows:
• €130m booked loss booked on transfer to NAMA and
• €50m profit to NAMA.
I agree that NAMA boasting about these kind of transactions being a profit should be condemned however saying the state could have had the profit is after-timing.

Lone Star is lining up a bid for 50 pubs put on the market by Ulster Bank. If successful, they will be the largest publican in Ireland. The pubs are part of Project Coney. UB is continuing its drive to reduce its Irish loan book. Also in the market is the €2bn Project Parasol 2 containing Irish SME’s loans.

Sunday Business Post

Former NTMA CEO, John Corrigan, has been appointed as the new Chairman of Davy Stockbrokers. This follows the recent stepping down of former Chairman Brian Davy. Davy’s also replaced their CEO with Brian McKiernan, former Head of their Private Clients division replacing Tony Garry. Davy’s recently purchased Dublin based Trusted Advisor Group, an outsourcing service to financial advisory firms, and is reportedly looking at further acquisitions to help it break into the British market.

A shortlist to develop Ireland’s tallest building will be finalised this week. The CIE owned site is alongside Tara St Dart station. Potential developers are expected to include Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Group, Johnny Ronan and US real estate giant, Hines.

Denis O’Brien’s Topaz has sought regulatory approval for its takeover of Esso’s Irish petrol stations. Esso has almost 90 stations bringing the Topaz estate up to more than 400 after the deal. It was reported in December that the deal was worth c. €70m.

In an effort to secure the Governments backing for its €1.3bn takeover of Aer Lingus, IAG is poised to offer the Government a 7 year pledge to maintain its Ireland to London service. This is up from its initial 5 year offer but below the Governments 10 year request. Paddy Power now have IAG at 8/13 to complete the takeover.

Brett Meyers run CurrencyFair, the Dublin based peer-to-peer FX exchange, has successfully raised €10m valuing the company at €75m. Funding of €5m came from UK funder Octopus Investments, with existing backer Frontline Ventures as well as angel investors and staff making up the reminder. CurrencyFair, set up in 2009, handles €5m worth of transactions per day and has carried out €1.81bn in money matching transfers since its foundation. A growing Irish success story.

Irish computer chip designer, Movidius, recently raised €40m valuing the 10 year old company at c. €250m. The company designs chips with vision sensing technology that can be used in a range of industries from self-driving cars to drones to mobile phones. It counts Google’s Android phones among its customers.

NAMA is preparing for the sale of its largest portfolio sale to date with €8.3bn Project Arrow coming to the market shortly. It is expected to be deeply discounted and is being valued at c. €1.5-2bn.

Smurfit Kappa has been in the spotlight recently following the news that International Paper may be lining up a takeover bid of the Irish based packaging group. Ian Guider has a good piece in the paper today on the story. International Banks are touting Smurfit Kappa as a good takeover target for International Paper however Smurfit Kappa have not received any approaches to date and have played down any potential deal. Davy’s report that they are in a strong financial position and may be an acquirer rather than a target.

The Business Post report that Doughty Hanson, the private equity owner of TV3 has reportedly had a lukewarm response from the ISIF backed Cardinal Carlyle Ireland. The current owners paid €265m acquiring TV3 in 2006 and the paper reports that it is unlikely that it will receive all this sum back. The paper reported in March that TV3 had received several bids with potential suitors are likely to come from international media groups.

Great story on the successful exit by Niall Doris from his Nat Ross, Oman and Beverly Smyth removals and storage companies to listed facilities management company Veris for €14m in 2006 and then buying it back two years later for €74,000. When he bought it back it had lost €1.5m the previous year and it is now on track to make a €1.3m profit this year, backed mainly on Government contracts and a much leaner cost base.

There is a good interview with Musgrave CEO Chris Martin in today’s paper. SuperValu is now the top grocer in Ireland with 24.9% market share, overtaking Tesco in the latest data released by Kanter World Panel. Musgraves takeover of Superquinn was the catalyst to achieving the top spot, increasing its market share in Dublin from 8% to 22% as a result.