Creche cover fears as one of only two insurers walks away

Seen & heard: Maximum Media numbers; Investors caught short; Actavo quits US; and Biomarin mulls expansion

More bad news for creche owners as one of the two companies insuring childcare facilities has decided to exit the market. The Business Post reports that Ironshore Europe has informed brokers it will not be quoting for Irish renewals following its acquisition by Hamilton Insurance from Liberty Mutual. Among Ironshore's clients is the troubled Hyde & Seek nursery group.

The Post also reports that Maximum Media has now accepted that it resorted to click farms to boost listenership rankings on more than one episode of its AIB-sponsored Capital B podcast series. Executive chairman Justin Cullen would not confirm the Post figure that listenership for 13 episodes had been inflated but acknowledged that "several episodes across the series were affected".

Irish investors who put €100 million into a scheme to convert listed buildings in Germany into luxury apartment blocks face an uncertain future as the company, German Property Group, misses an interest payment due this week, the Sunday Times reports. The group promised a 15 per cent annual return for people investing a minimum of €15,000 in its scheme for three or five years.

Actavo, the engineering services business in which Denis O'Brien has majority control, has quit the US market with the decision to sell its business there as part of a "fundamental reorganisation".


Actavo, formerly Siteserv, bought Atlantic Engineering Services, which designs fibre networks, for €20 million in 2017. The Irish group saw its operating losses widen to €32.2 million last year from €21 million in 2017.

US biopharmaceuticals company Biomarin, which focuses on treating rare genetic disorders, has said it may develop another facility in Ireland, the Sunday Independent reports.

The company, which is listed on the Nasdaq and started operating near Shanbally in Co Cork eight years ago, already has 500 employees in Ireland, accounting for a fifth of its total workforce, according to the newspaper. The company engaged in a €38 million expansion of its Cork plant last year and opened a new European headquarters in Dublin two months ago.

Liam Griffin, the son of the founder of UK minicab company Addison Lee, is reported to be lining up a takeover of the company that is struggling under its owner, the private equity group Carlyle, and competition from rival Uber, according to the Sunday Telegraph. Griffin is the son of John Griffin, son of Irish parents and a strong backer of the Conservative party, who built the group up from one cab in 1975 to a group with thousands of vehicles operating in 80 countries.

Moneylender Amigo says it has more than doubled its Irish loan book to €4.8 million and added 1,000 customers since June, the Sunday Independent reports. As Christmas looms, the company – which makes its money by offering loans to people rejected by the banks provided they have a family or friend will to act as guarantor – says it plans to add jobs to its Irish business.