Galen Weston dies, change at Kilkenny Group and expensive Dublin rents

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

Galen Weston, the entrepreneur who built an Atlantic-spanning business network that included a long association with Brown Thomas, has died aged 80.

The Canadian had a personal as well as business connections to Ireland, where his family's retail empire expanded in recent years to include Arnotts. While associated with luxury department store retail, the Westons also have a majority stake in the company that owns fast-fashion chain Penneys.

One Irish company that operates at the intersection of three pandemic-hit sectors – retail, hospitality and tourism – is the Kilkenny Group. The woman who will seek to lead it out of the Covid-19 era is Evelyn Moynihan, who joined the business 16 months ago and previously held senior roles at Diageo and Musgrave.

She takes over from Marian O’Gorman, who for 22 years has been the driving force behind the group and is now stepping down as chief executive. Mark Paul reports.

Dublin is the fifth most expensive city in which to rent a home in Europe this year, having experienced an increase of €119 per month in 2020, according to global mobility expert ECA International. The Irish capital remains far costlier than many other European cities, including Rome, Berlin and Valencia. Colin Gleeson reports.

Balbec Capital, an Arizona-based distressed debt investment firm, has emerged as the winning bidder for a portfolio of deep-in-arrears Irish mortgages being sold by Goldman Sachs at more than a 75 per cent discount to their original €450 million value, sources indicate. Joe Brennan reports.

Cork-based medical equipment supplier Healthcare 21 Group has been acquired by Swedish peer AddLife in a deal worth up to €245 million, delivering a multimillion euro payday for its founder Owen Curtin and the company's top managers. Joe Brennan reports.

Irish print and packaging company Colorman has been acquired by Dublin-based private equity group Woodberry Capital for an undisclosed sum. Woodberry is led by chief executive and founder Patrick Doran, who has long experience in the print and packaging industry. Ciarán Hancock reports.

Just over two years after it was sold for €25 million, the Royal Liver Park on Dublin's Naas Road looks set for a potential return to the market at a new asking price of around €50 million. But while the retail park's owners are understood to be considering its sale, they may also be weighing up the potential for a major residential scheme on the site. Ronald Quinlan reports.

Also in this week's commercial property coverage: The pandemic has accelerated changes to how companies will use offices in the future – and that means fewer rows of desks and more collaboration space, writes Deirdre Costello, senior director of office leasing at JLL Ireland.

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