Arachas’s €60m deal, ‘endgame’ for fossil fuels, and the State’s messy reopening

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Cliff Taylor: “There is no opening date for indoor dining. Having had one of the tightest lockdowns, Ireland is now looking like it will have one of the slowest reopenings.” File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Cliff Taylor: “There is no opening date for indoor dining. Having had one of the tightest lockdowns, Ireland is now looking like it will have one of the slowest reopenings.” File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Arachas, an Irish insurance broker that was bought last year by larger UK peer Ardonagh Group, has continued on its own acquisitions trail with an agreement to purchase Waterford-based Hooper Dolan in a deal believed to be worth in excess of €60 million. Joe Brennan reports that Hooper Dolan, led by directors and main shareholders Paul Dolan, Cathal Lowe, and Charlie Cavanagh, has over 120 employees across 12 offices nationwide. The transaction will boost Arachas’s workforce to over 450.

Joe also reports that AIB’s chief executive Colin Hunt will tell the Oireachtas finance committee later today he is confident that the bank’s return to profit at the start of the year will continue as the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and economic rebound gather pace, even as the reopening of the economy has stalled.

Dogpatch Labs has announced the 11 startups that will take place in the new NDRC Accelerator, the first cohort since the consortium took over the running of the programme. There was a record level of interest in the six-month long accelerator, with 500 applicants for the places. This year’s cohort covers a range of industries, from data privacy compliance and market intelligence tools to digital marketing and edtech. Ciara O’Brien has the details.

Carbon emissions from Ireland’s electricity sector could be cut from almost 10 million tonnes annually to under two million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030 and bring a €180 million price reduction for consumers, according to a report out today by energy specialists Baringa, who say that “after more than 140 years we are finally in the endgame for fossil fuels in the production of electricity”. Kevin O’Sullivan examines the report in detail.

Kevin also reports on yesterday’s British Irish Chamber of Commerce on the COP26 climate summit which is taking place next November. Mike Hayes, global head of renewables with KPMG said that while Ireland has scaled up its climate ambitions “now it’s really about action”, highlighting that he believes the UK to be best best country globally when it comes to the climate agenda.

In our Bottom Line column, Cliff Taylor writes that yesterday’s announcement around the delay to indoor hospitality means the reopening plan has been ripped up, and that we urgently need a new one.

Barry O’Halloran reports on energy supplier Urban Volt which lost €450,000 last year as revenues grew and the business expanded into solar power. The energy company, which recruited the State and property magnate Stephen Vernon as backers last year, said revenues rose 25 per cent to €2.2 million in 2020 and that the company is positioned for significant growth.

In Commercial Property, Ronald Quinlan reports that international real estate firm Hines has formally acquired the second phase of Chatham & King, a new high-profile mixed-use scheme next to the Gaiety Theatre on South King Street in Dublin city centre.

Ronald also reports on Ardstone Capital, which has paid around €180 million to acquire 398 apartments being delivered by Dwyer Nolan Developments across three sites in Dublin.

Meanwhile, Nama is selling 54 apartments at Prospect Hill in Finglas for €14.5 million, offers buyers the scope for €1.092 million rental income. Fiona Reddan has the details.

You can read all of the rest of today’s Commercial Property news here.

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