Novo Nordisk drops Dublin factory plan

Seen & Heard: Inheritance tax reduction, Press Up stake and Spar sale

Press Up owns restaurants such as Captain America’s, Elephant and Castle and Angelina’s in Dublin. Other assets include the Stella Cinema in Rathmines, and bars such as the Workman’s Club, Ashton’s and the Lucky Duck. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien

Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk, maker of the Ozempic and Wegovy diabetes and weight-loss drugs, has dropped plans to build a plant in west Dublin, which was on track to create up to 1,100 jobs., the Sunday Times reports.

The company confirmed the decision not to proceed with a 147,000sq m (1.58msq ft) factory at Grange Castle business park in Clondalkin in a statement to the newspaper.

However, the paper said that Novo Nordisk plans to expand and create further jobs at its Athlone facility, where it employs 400 people. It also has a 50-person sales and marketing unit in Santry, north Dublin.

Novo Nordisk was reported to have agreed to pay €51 million last summer to South Dublin County Council to acquire the 85-acre west Dublin site, which is close to Peamount Hospital and the Newcastle Golf Centre. It said that it is now not proceeding with the completion of the land purchase and will withdraw its planning applications.


Fine Gael eyes inheritance tax reduction

The Sunday Times also reports that Government party Fine Gael will be pushing for a reduction in inheritance tax in Budget 2025 for the first time since 2019, most likely by increasing the threshold at which 33 per cent levy kicks in.

The report highlighted that the current tax-free threshold for the passing on of property from parent to individual offspring is €335,000. Fine Gael has vowed more than a decade ago to increase it incrementally to €500,000.

The fresh focus on inheritance tax follows a surge in property prices in the past five years, it added. Budget 2025 will be the last one before the next general election, which must be held by early March.

London investment firm to take controlling stake in Press Up

The Business Post has devoted a half page on Sunday to an analysis on its initial reporting late on Friday that London-based alternative investment firm Cheyne Capital is to take a majority equity stake in Press Up, the bars-to-restaurants group set up by Paddy McKillen jnr and his business partner Matt Ryan 15 years ago.

Cheyne has been a long-standing lender to Press-Up, the paper noted. The equity-swap arrangement will also see the UK firm follow up with the provision of further financing to the group. A spokeswoman for Press Up declined to comment on the report when contacted by The Irish Times.

Press Up owns restaurants such as Captain America’s, Elephant and Castle and Angelina’s in Dublin. Other assets include the Stella Cinema in Rathmines, and bars such as the Workman’s Club, Ashton’s and the Lucky Duck.

The deal comes five years after Press Up pulled a planned initial public offering (IPO) due to volatile equity markets at the time. It subsequently abandoned a plan to raise up to €50 million through the sale of a 45 per cent stake in Press Up to investors.

In April, Mr McKillen jnr and Mr Ryan completed the sale of a majority stake in the Dean Hotel Group to British property group Lifestyle Hospitality Capital (LHC) and Elliott Investment Management, the New York alternative investment giant founded by billionaire activist investor Paul Singer.

Spar’s Irish unit to avoid sale under wider group review

The Sunday Independent reports that Spar’s Irish unit will not be put up for sale, even after the head of the South African retailing giant behind the business suggested that such a transaction could be in the offing.

The chief executive of Johannesburg-listed The Spar Group, which owns the Spar, Londis and Mace brands through its Irish subsidiary, BWG Group, told analysts last week that the business is carrying out a review of its European operations, including Ireland.

Angelo Swartz, the group CEO, also highlighted that BWG CEO Leo Crawford will be retiring at the end of this year.

The Spar Group acquired an initial 80 per cent of BWG a decade ago for €55 million. Mr Crawford and others on his management team sold the remaining 20 per cent to The Spar Group for €102 million in a performance-related deal, with the final tranche changing hands at the end of 2020.

The Sunday Independent said that sources with knowledge of the matter have confirmed to it that BWG will not be considered for sale as part of the wider European review.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times