Barchester banker, Fitzpatricks walks, and Gove gives farmers the Brexit shivers

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

Datalex chief executive Aidan Brogan who has lost his chief financial officer after a matter of weeks. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Datalex chief executive Aidan Brogan who has lost his chief financial officer after a matter of weeks. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


Three of Ireland’s richest businessmen are in line for another windfall as Australian investment bank Macquarie gets involved in advanced talks to acquire care homes group Barchester Healthcare, which lists Dermot Desmond, JP McManus and John Magnier among its shareholders, writes Joe Brennan.

Another familiar name is also in the news with the announcement that Fitzpatricks Shoes, the family business that has been trading since 1926, is walking away from the Grafton Street site it has occupied since 1961. Justin Comiskey has the details.

Someone else walking away, though rather sooner than expected, is Donal Rooney. Joe Brennan reports that the Datalex chief financial officer is leaving the business just weeks after he took over, only to be confronted with a massive profit warning.

Brexit is never far from the headlines, and news the UK environment secretary Michael Gove expressly confirmed the intention to impose tariffs on imports in the event of a no-deal Brexit had Irish meat producers, in particular, quickly out to seek financial support form the Government and Europe.

And staying with Brexit, Kerry Group signalled on Tuesday that it has begun stockpiling raw materials ahead of Brexit. Chief executive Edmond Scanlon also cautioned that weakening UK consumer sentiment on the other side of the Irish Sea is the main risk to his outlook for up to 10 per cent earnings growth this year. Joe Brennan has the details.

Whiskey entrepreneur John Teeling has said he is “disappointed” that plans for extensive warehouses on farmland he owns in Co Louth were refused by An Bord Pleanála. Peter Hamilton reports that Teeling, who spent more than €500,000 on consultancy fees, says he will now look outside the county for the company’s substantial warehousing needs.

Better news on planning for Echelon Data Centres, a new entrant to the sector, that has secured approval for a ¤500 million, 485,000 square foot data centre in Arklow, having previously secured similar permission for a site in Clondalkin.

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council is on the lookout for entrepreneurs with bright ideas as it looks to overcome a setback to redevelopment plans for the old ferry terminal building at St Michael’s Pier in Dún Laoghaire Harbour, when developer Philip Gannon pulled out of the project shortly after securing planning permission.

Finally, Aston Carpets & Flooring, the company with the unfortunate accolade of being the first in the history of the State to be criminally convicted for bid-rigging, was this week struck off by the Companies Registration Office after its owners said they “shut it down”. Mark Paul reports on the demise of a business that made its name selling floor coverings to high profile multinational companies.

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