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Weekly Round Up, November 25, 2014

Published on Nov 24 2014 2:21 PM

Weekly Round Up, November 25, 2014

Tesco Ireland has launched ‘Your Kind of Christmas’, a campaign celebrating the traditions and idiosyncrasies that make each Irish household’s Christmas special. The campaign follows a fictional family through four different Christmas moments, from unwrapping presents to sitting down for the Christmas meal. The through-the-line campaign includes TV, radio, press, outdoor and digital media with the first TV advertising broadcasting this week. It was developed with agency partner Target McConnells and director Ben Whitehouse.  The TV campaign follows the launch of an in-store and online turkey and ham pre-order service. Robert Boyle, Creative Director at Target McConnells said: “The ambition was to show we’re all different; that our families are all a bit quirky and wonderful at the same time.”

Applegreen has reported a 12% jump in sales across its service station network. Petrogas Global, the company behind Applegreen, which operates 92 service stations in Ireland, said turnover rose to €804.5 million last year, up from €717.3 million the previous year. The company said a successful re-financing of the group legacy debt has enabled a “re-focus on growing the business”. During the year, Petrogas refinanced its debt with Lloyds, repaying mezzanine debt and successfully purchasing legacy debt from the liquidators of IBRC, formerly Anglo. New long-term senior facilities were drawn down from Ulster Bank and AIB, Chief executive Bob Etchingham said: “The successful re-financing of the group’s legacy debt was a significant milestone in that enabled us to re-focus on growing the business […] This enabled us to build on our estate, and we acquired our 100th site.” He added, “The momentum of continued business through 2014 has continued expansion in both the UK and Ireland, and established a foothold in the US market.”

Dunnes Stores has taken a legal challenge to An Bord Pleanála to give the owners of The Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght the go-ahead for an extension of the centre, costing €40 million. Mr. Justice Seamus Noonan granted Dunnes Stores leave to seek orders quashing the decision of the board on September 23 last. Eamon Galligan, SC, for Dunnes Stores said the company wants to challenges the permission conditions and has concerns regarding the impact of the extension on its retail business in the shopping centre. The extension would add about 18,600 square metres (200,000 sq ft) of retail space for shopping. A multi-story car park over six levels with over 800 spaces is also planned.

Alo Duffy has been appointed the new chairman of Lakeland Dairies Co-operative Society Ltd. Duffy, who is from Ballybay, Co Monaghan, was first elected to the Lakeland Dairies board in 2010. He succeeds Pádraig Young, who has retired from the board having served as a member since 2006, and chairman since 2008. Anthony Leddy of Milltown, Belturbet, Co. Cavan, has been elected to the board, representing the co-operative’s Cavan north constituency, following Young’s retirement. Lakeland has operations in 15 counties, in both the Republic and the North, processing over 800 million litres annually into a range of dairy food service products and food ingredients that are exported worldwide.

According to the Irish Venture Capital Association’s (IVCA) survey, there has been a 35% increase in venture capital funding raised by Irish small-to-medium enterprises (SME) to €314 million, but only 5% of this went to start ups. Regina Breheny, director general, IVCA expressed concern that the first round seed funding for start-ups has fallen this percentage of total funds raised, compared to 21% in 2013 and 19% in 2012. She said, “The seed funds supported by the banking sector and Enterprise Ireland’s Seed & Venture Capital Programme for 2006-2012 are close to fully invested. Funds need to be renewed if entrepreneurs are to be supported as actively as the past five years.” The survey finds that since the onset of the credit crunch in 2008, over €2 billion of venture capital has been raised by 980 SMEs. The funds raised during this period support the creation of up to 20,000 jobs and have attracted over €825 million in foreign capital into Ireland.

Farmbake has revealed a new seasonal range of Christmas cakes and treats. The selection includes Luxury Christmas Slices, Mince Pies, Fruit Cake, Iced Cake and traditional Christmas pudding. Farmbake is managed by a father and son team, Jim and Alan Divney, who together have handpicked the Farmbake Christmas range of products. The Farmbake range consists of 40 cake and treat options, which are available in approximately 2,500 stores nationwide, including Spar, Mace, Tesco and Londis. Farmbake Ireland is also offering consumers opportunities to win prizes in the run up to the festive season on their Facebook page.

Gluten-free chocolatier Cobden and Brown has secured its first retail sales in the Republic of Ireland, driving business outside of Northern Ireland. The small enterprise, based in Lurgan in county Armagh, has begun supplying its handmade chocolate bars, which are wheat, gluten and egg-free, to independent retailers in the Republic of Ireland. The company recently won two Great Taste Awards from the UK Guild of Fine Food for their 70% Single Origin Ecuador and 85% Cocoa Bars. Caroline McArdle, founder of the company said: “Targeting the Irish Republic is a logical development […] particularly diet-conscious consumers through our network of delis and small retailers.” Cobden and Brown chocolate bars are made without processed ingredients, and they also produce dark chocolate that is dairy-free. The company has identified a significant market opportunity developing from demand of “free-from” products for customers with celiac disease and other dietary intolerances.

Several Irish companies are eyeing the export potential of the €20 billion Chinese seafood market, which accounts for 25% of world consumption. Bord Bia Minster for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Simon Coveney TD, said “China continues to be a growing market for Irish seafood, with exports increasing by over 300% since 2011”. Sales are set to rise by 56% alone in 2014 and are expected to increase significantly next year as momentum grows and market awareness builds. Bord Bia is continuing to encourage high-end retail and foodservice Chinese customers to visit Ireland to meet processors on a one-on-one basis through its trade development program. Donal Buckley, Bord Iascaigh Mhara director of business development and innovation, said: “While China is the fastest growing market for Irish sea-food, the challenge is to continually seek out profitable niches where Irish seafood can be differentiated from larger American and Asian competitors”.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has confirmed that his Department is currently 'drafting a response' to the detailed opinions issued by eight EU member states on the Irish government's plain packaging legislation. In response to a question from Independent TD Finian McGrath, Minister Varadkar said that following the member states' submissions, there is currently a 'standstill period' on the legislation, of three months, until December 18th. It is therefore highly unlikely that any further decision on the legislation will be taken before the Dail's Christmas break.

White’s Oats in Northern Ireland is investing over £1 million and creating 29 new jobs to expand sales of its porridge and snack products in the Irish, British and foreign markets. Based in Tandragree in County Armagh, and part of the Fane Valley Group, it is Northern Ireland’s only oat miller, currently employing 36 people. The company has won a series of Great Taste Awards and aims to double sales and profits in the next three years. Trevor Lockhart, group chief executive of Fane Valley, said, “We benefit particularly from our sustainable supply chain and close relationship with local farmers. This ensures the provenance, traceability, and safety being increasingly demanded by consumers in all markets.” White’s sources its raw oats from 25 local farmers.

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson and Robert Moloney.

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