Inside the world of business
Liquidator taking stock of ISE move
The liquidator of Bloxham Stockbrokers, Kieran Wallace of KPMG, is faced with something of a dilemma following the Irish Stock Exchange’s decision to terminate the firm’s membership.
The decision, which comes seven months after the collapse of the business, reflects the fact that company has ceased trading and has no realistic prospect of resuming trading.
However, the consequences of the decision are quite serious for Wallace and Bloxham’s creditors, including National Irish Bank, which is owed €8.5 million. The termination of its membership means Bloxham will not share in any windfall following the expected demutualisation of the 219-year-old exchange.
The demutualisation, which is expected early next year, could have been worth as much as €6.3 million to the firm, according to its statement of affairs filed in the courts last summer.
Its share will presumably be spread among the remaining six member firms or “guarantors” as they are formally known. The firms – Campbell O’Connor, Dolmen (recently bought by Cantor), Goodbody, Davy, NCB and RBS – are in effect the shareholders and hold six of the seats on the 12-strong board.
Wallace will have to decide whether to challenge the decision to revoke Bloxham’s membership. The basis of any challenge is likely to be that while the exchange has the right to review the membership of a firm that has not been trading for six months, it is not necessarily obliged to boot it out.
The speed of Bloxham’s ejection and the backdrop of the demutualisation will no doubt be fertile ground for lawyers looking for a review or injunction. Any move in this direction by Wallace will almost certainly stall the demutualisation and the windfall the other stockbrokers have been banking on. With this in mind Wallace – and the Bloxham creditors – may be better served by trying to do some sort of deal with the other firms. They may well be tempted to cough up a few million to ensure their pay day is not delayed.
The secret to Ireland's success with food
This has proved to be another strong year for the food industry here, with Irish-listed food companies enjoying revenue and profit growth.
That is no mean feat in the midst of a recession that has severely dampened consumer sentiment.
The secret to Ireland’s success has been the repositioning of itself as a producer of value-added products, and research and development-driven activity, rather than an exporter of bulk commodities.
The decision by Greencore to buy British sandwich maker Uniq and move its listing to London, proved prescient, with the company posting strong full-year results last month.
Greencore’s success is all the more impressive given its focus on the tough consumer retail sphere.
Meanwhile, Kerry and Glanbia’s strategic decision to explore the ingredients and nutritionals space over the past decade has reaped dividends, and both companies are now market leaders in their fields.
Kerry Group’s announcement that it is to build a research and development centre in Kildare, was one of high points of the year from the perspective of jobs.