Developers expect ‘dramatic slowdown’ in build-to-rent apartments market

Seen and heard: RTÉ workers and pay negotiations, Freshly Chopped gets ready for UK expansion deal and Revenue chases business debts

Apartments setback

Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore development group has pulled out of a €45 million deal to buy a 27-acre site in north Dublin, ahead of an expected “dramatic slowdown” in the market for building apartment blocks with institutional backing for the rental market, the Sunday Times reports. Ballymore was made preferred bidder in March for the site, which has planning permission for more than 1,900 homes and is being sold by developer Gerry Gannon. But as interest rates and building costs spike, it is feared that many proposed apartment developments are no longer economically viable.

RTÉ industrial action

The Sunday Times also reports that workers at the State broadcaster, RTÉ, will be balloted on industrial action if upcoming pay negotiations don’t meet expectations. Unions lodged a pay claim of up to 5.5 per cent in May but talks were delayed while RTÉ awaited the outcome of the Future of Media Commission and also the budget, when it got an extra €15 million in funding. Negotiations are due to resume on October 14th.

UK move

The Sunday Independent reports that Irish healthy food chain Freshly Chopped is close to agreeing a deal to open 120 sites across the UK in a deal with a major UK retailer. The proposed deal comes after Chopped agreed a separate deal earlier this year to open a slew of stores in northern Europe. Its founder and chief executive, Brian Lee, told the newspaper that the terms of the UK deal had been agreed and its legal details were now being finalised.

Debt refinance

Dublin-listed accommodation booking engine Hostelworld is in talks with a number of Irish and international banks to refinance €30 million of debt funding it obtained during the pandemic, the Sunday Independent reports. The interest rate of at least 9.25 per cent is “expensive”, its chief executive Gary Morrison says, and the business wants to get different funding at a much lower rate.

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Development opposed

Dublin building machinery business Pat O’Donnell & Co is lobbying local politicians to prevent a proposed 16-storey residential development on lands owned by pharma wholesaler Uniphar on lands to the west of Dublin. Dublin city councilors are proposing to rezone the site for residential use. But the machinery company, which operates on an adjacent site, says the area is unsuitable for residential development.

Teeling stake

The Business Post reports that international drinks giant Bacardi is in talks to acquire a “controlling stake” in Irish whiskey company Teeling, where it is already a minority investor. Teeling was set up by Jack and Stephen Teeling and owns a distillery in central Dublin.

Covid scheme

The Business Post also reports that the Revenue Commissioners could use sheriffs to recoup up to €500 million in debts from struggling businesses, as a Covid-era tax warehousing schemes comes to an end.