Weekly Roundup, April 25, 2017

By Donna Ahern
Weekly Roundup, April 25, 2017

British venture capitalist firm Business Growth Fund is setting up a €200 million fund for Irish SMEs. AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank are to commit €25 million each, and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will supply €75 million. The remainder will be provided by Business Growth Fund, which has already acquired a minority stake in Renegade, a Waterford whiskey distillery.

US property group Hines is planning to open retail space on College Green, Dublin. The company, which bought the former Central Bank earlier this year, aims to convert the lower floors of 6-8 College Green into retail space, and the higher into office space.

Founder of Tullow Oil, Aidan Heavey, has sold nearly a third of his shares in the oil and gas explorer. It is understood this is to raise funds to buy shares in a discounted rights issue. Heavey founded Tullow Oil in 1985 and the business is now valued at almost £2.9 billion.

Fruitcubed is returning to Ireland to raise €200,000 and launch in Cork with Supervalu. The company, which converts waste and over-ripe fruit into stock cubes, was founded in Cork by Breffney O'Dowling-Keane. It was due to launch in Ireland originally before being accepted in the ‘Food-X’ programme in New York.

Fine Gael is the farmer’s preferred party, according to a FarmIreland.ie survey. The agri-news website surveyed 1,000 farmers in face-to-face interviews and found 32% of them would vote for Fine Gael in a general election. However, 22% were undecided. 80% of those surveyed also supported Ireland remaining in the EU.


Retail sales in the UK have posted the biggest quarterly fall in seven years. The British Office for National Statistics has reported that retail sales volumes contracted 1.4% in the first quarter of 2017, the biggest such decline since Q1 2010.

Primark is forecasting more than €1 billion in sales in Spain this year. The fashion company, which is managed from Dublin and trades here as Penneys, is set to make Spain its second most important market behind the UK.

Applegreen has stated plans to acquire a 50% interest in a sea-fed terminal in Dublin Port. Applegreen will acquire the terminal from Topaz, and has notified the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission of its intentions.

Debenhams' Irish stores have posted €7 million in losses last year. The company put its 11 Irish outlets into examinership in an attempt to cut costs last Summer. Chief financial officer of Debenhams Matthew Smith stated the company expects "to have a small loss this year, and then moving into break-even next year."

The Outdoor Media Association has opposed proposed legislation to ban alcohol advertising near schools and playgrounds. The organisation, which represents many outdoor advertisers, has stated this would be practically challenging as more than 10,000 separate location would be affected. Airport and racecourse operators, as well as a US senator, have also voiced concerns over the bill.


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