Another Web Summit case, more ESB power plant delays, Stripe ‘happy to be private’

Seen & Heard: Newspapers on ‘muted’ Covid-19 loan take-up and a move by Dawn Meats

Web Summit co-founder Daire Hickey has filed a second High Court case against Paddy Cosgrave, the co-founder and chief executive of the tech conference company, the Business Post reports.

Mr Hickey was already suing Mr Cosgrave for alleged minority shareholder oppression. He has filed a second case understood to relate to an alleged breach of a profit-sharing agreement.

Mr Hickey, who retains a 7 per cent share in Web Summit, currently operates 150Bond, a PR firm that works with a number of high-profile clients including digital payments company Stripe. His second lawsuit brings the total number of ongoing court cases involving the Web Summit co-founders to five.

Stripe IPO not inevitable

Stripe is "happy to be a private company" and has " a fair way to go" on growth, John Collison, who founded the payments giant alongside brother Patrick, has told the Sunday Independent. The company, which was valued at $95 billion last March, has been the subject of initial public offering (IPO) chatter in recent months, but the billionaire entrepreneur said this was not an inevitability.

In an interview with the newspaper, Mr Collison said he would bet that Stripe could grow by a “decent amount” in the years ahead. “It’s only in the last few years that we’ve gotten good at working with enterprises and big companies, and we’re still expanding into new countries.”

ESB plant delays

The ESB has pulled out of delivering three more gas power plants in the Dublin area for this year, according to the Business Post, which suggested the move would exacerbate the already constrained electricity supply situation in the capital.

The semi-State energy company had previously pulled out of a contract to build two gas power plants in North Wall due to finish construction in 2022, which would have had a combined power capacity of 216 megawatts (MW).

It has now confirmed that it will also not be able to fulfil contracts to deliver three other gas power plants in time, which would have had a combined power generation capacity of close to 200MW and were meant to be in place by the end of this year.

Covid-19 loan take-up

The latest figures for the Government’s Covid-19 credit guarantee scheme show that a little more than a quarter of the €2 billion in soft loans on offer have been used by pandemic-struck businesses, reports the Sunday Times.

The muted take-up has led to calls for reform amid claims that lenders are being too cautious, even though they only carry 20 per cent of the credit risk, with the rest guaranteed by the State.

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland said there had been a "small number" of defaults, understood to be fewer than 10 of the near 8,000 companies that have borrowed €545 million through the scheme, which has been extended for six months.

Dawn Meats development

Dawn Meats, one of Ireland's largest meat processors, has applied for planning permission to develop 434 residential units at a site near Midleton, Co Cork, according to the Sunday Independent.

The company, which has annual revenues of more than €2 billion submitted the application to Cork County Council last month. The proposed scheme will include 281 apartments/duplex units in eight blocks ranging in height from three to seven storeys.

It will also include 153 terraced or semi-detached houses, a three-storey R&D office building, a five-storey neighbourhood centre that includes retail use at ground floor level, a 90-bed nursing home and a childcare facility.

Motorway investor move

DIF Capital Partners, a Dutch infrastructure investor, is preparing to offload its stakes in three Irish motorway concessions, including a 50 per cent stake in a contract to maintain and operate the M50, reports the Sunday Times.

The investment manager is believed by the newspaper to have hired Cantor Fitzgerald to find a buyer for its M50 interest and an 80 per cent stake in the M3 and M4 motorway concessions.

DIF, one of the biggest current investors in Irish roads, is said to be keen to liquidate its position in its Irish public-private partnerships ahead of the maturity of an investment fund in 2023.