Company linked to developer Paddy McKillen buys Skelligs Chocolates

‘It will be business as usual, but with more business,’ says outgoing owner Colm Healy

A company linked to property developer Paddy McKillen and his family has bought Kerry confectionery maker and cafe business, Skelligs Chocolate from Dublin businessman Colm Healy for a price believed to be close to €2 million.

A spokesperson for the McKillen Corporation, which owns the Press Up hospitality group, Grafter Luxury Workspaces office scheme and development firm Oakmount, which are all overseen by Paddy McKillen Junior, confirmed it has bought the Kerry business.

McKillen Corporation is not registered as a business in Ireland but it appears to be a loose group structure incorporating the McKillen's interests. All the companies that McKillen Corporation says it owns are ultimately held by an Isle of Man entity, Keillan. Its directors include Mr McKillen junior, his business partner Matt Ryan and Liam Cunningham, an associate of Mr McKillen senior.

Mr Healy said the chocolates business, which employs about 25 and makes a range of high-end confectionery that is sold at retail outlets such as Avoca and Brown Thomas, had been for sale for seven months. He has sold the trading business and also the Kerry property from which it operates, which he owned separately, as part of the deal.

READ MORE

Exact plans

He said he is moving back to Dublin for family reasons: “Most of my life is in Dublin but the business is in Kerry. If I could have moved it to Dublin, I would not have sold it.”

Mr Healy bought the business in 2004 and expanded it. He said he was not fully aware of the McKillen company’s exact plans for the business, but he suspected it would be “business as usual, but with more business”.

Me Healy said he will stay on for a "transitional period" to help with the handover of the business. Documents filed this week suggest he and his wife, Nicola Healy, will each receive severance payments of €46,385. Mr Healy will also be repaid loans to the business of €182,822.

Accounts for the trading business show it was paying Mr Healy rent of €40,000 on the premises that he has sold to the McKillens. He had personally guaranteed more than €330,000 of its debts, while the trading arm had net assets of €510,000.

McKillen Corporation said it intends to continue “making wonderful chocolate” at the business. It has appointed Breffney O’Dowling Keane, a former food blogger, as the new chief executive of Skelligs Chocolate.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column