Irish liquidations may breach 1,000 level

Seen & Heard: Builders suffer worst fall; billionaire duke backs Buymie; and Maximum Media bidders

Ireland’s construction sector will suffer a setback worse than builders in any other EU state. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ireland’s construction sector will suffer a setback worse than builders in any other EU state. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The number of Irish company liquidations as a result of insolvency is expected to more than double to 1,000 this year, according to a Sunday Independent report, citing accountancy and advisory firm PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes.

While liquidations have ground to a halt over the course of the Covid-19 crisis, they are expected to accelerate significantly over the coming months as many companies struggle to recover from the lockdown and economic shock caused by the pandemic. Some 426 insolvent liquidations took place last year.

Construction faces worst one-year fall:

Ireland’s construction sector will suffer a Covid-19 setback worse than builders in any other EU state, the Independent also reports. Output will fall by 37.7 per cent, according to Euroconstruct. That compares with the biggest one-year decline during the financial crisis of 33.6 per cent and 33.4 per cent in the UK. Annette Hughes, a director of EY-DKM Economic Advisory, which compiled the Irish figures, said that, even in 2022, construction output would be just below 80 per cent of the 2019 figure.

Trade credit insurers prepare to cut coverage:

The Sunday Times reports that Altradius, one of the main providers of trade credit insurers in the Irish market, has warned customers that it plans to cut coverage because of the lack of a Government guarantee that has been offered by governments elsewhere in Europe in recent months.

The UK and a number of other European countries have moved during the Covid-19 crisis to step in with a guarantee that essentially reinsures trade credit insurers as they protect companies from bad debts on trade deals. More than 1,000 Irish companies use credit insurance covering €50 billion of trade a year, according to the newspaper, which said that insurers Euler Hermes and Coface are expected to follow Altradius in imposing coverage limits.

The industry has been lobbying the Government for some time on an Irish guarantee, but Altradius said that there is “no evidence” that a scheme will be set up on time to be effective, according to the report.

Buymie wins Duke of Westminster backing:

The billionaire Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, is among investors that have pumped €5.8 million into Irish grocery delivery company, Buymie, the Sunday Times reported.

The Duke invested through his agri-tech fund, Wheatsheaf Group, Buymie director and investor Eamon Quinn, a son of the late Fergal Quinn, told the newspaper.

Buymie’s online grocery deliver has boomed during the coronavirus crisis as more people want to shop online and avoid long queues and social distancing measures in supermarkets.

Bidders circle insolvent Joe.ie owner:

The owner of Entertainment.ie, Packed House, has emerged as one of the bidders circling the insolvent owner of websites Joe.ie and Her.ie, according to the Sunday Business Post.

Maximum Media, which also has British unit called Joe Media, has been subject to examinership since last month, with KPMG appointed to find buyers to clear more than €6 million of debt, owed by BPC Lending Ireland. The High Court heard last week that there were three strong bids for the Irish operation.

London-listed media technology company Iconic Labs said last week that it was joining forces with Greencastle Capital to try and buy both the Irish and British operations of Maximum Media