Inside the world of business
Cantor's Dolmen takeover will add spice
It’s taken more than a year to close but barring a late hiccup it appears that Dolmen Stockbrokers takeover by Cantor Fitzgerald will happen in the next week or two.
Various technical and regulatory issues that surround financial mergers these days are thought to be the main reason why the deal has taken so long to consummate.
Cantor is believed to have also eyed up Seán Quinn-backed NCB Stockbrokers.In the end, NCB did its own deal with South African bank Investec.
Dolmen chief Ronan Reid is expected to manage the business in Dublin but the name is likely to change to Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland. We can also expect Cantor to appoint a couple of senior executives to the Irish company’s board.
We can take it as read that Cantor sees an opportunity in Ireland by executing this deal and there is every expectation that the business will grow over time. Indeed, Dolmen has been recruiting new staff in the past year or so.
Cantor’s arrival here will no doubt be cited as an endorsement of Ireland’s improved image overseas.
Cantor’s arrival might prove to be well timed. After three dreadful years, there is evidence international investors are once again keen to buy assets in Ireland, which is perceived to be back on track and offering far better value than in the bubble years. The proposed purchase of the Burlington Hotel in Dublin by private equity heavyweight Blackstone is but one small signal of this.
Being part of Cantor will give Dolmen access to institutional buyers that they most probably would not have been able to secure as an independent entity.
It also has the potential to spice up the market here. Davy and Goodbody have traditionally dominated the market here for equities, bonds, debt financings and such like.
Cantor is regarded as an entrepreneurial buisness. It lost 658 of its 960 New York-based employees in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which would have wiped out most businesses. Slowly but surely it was rebuilt over time and it will be interesting to see what impact its makes in Ireland.
British energy policy blows hot and cold
Britain’s energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey, and his junior minister, John Hayes, reportedly differ over future energy policies.
Hayes is Euro-sceptic and is well-known for his opposition to the development of more onshore wind farms in Britain.
He signalled as much recently when he said that the country could meet renewable targets with what is already built and a small proportion of what’s in the planning system – “end of story”.
His boss, on other other hand, says that there are “no caps” on onshore wind, which he argues is cheap and will play an important part in the future.
From Ireland’s point of view, those differences don’t matter a whole lot. The Republic and Northern Ireland have a single power market. That market is on track to achieve its target of meeting 40 per cent of all electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
However, some industry figures here were concerned that Hayes’s scepticism about renewables could hit plans for an Irish-British inter-governmental agreement that would allow renewable operators in the Republic to plug directly into the national grid on the island of Britain and sell their electricity there.
That deal is still on track, as responsibility for it has reverted back to Davey’s charge.