High-priced Clerys sale likely to reignite controversy

Seen & Heard: Natrium’s plan for O’Connell St premises among top stories in Sunday papers

Clerys was sold to Natrium, a joint venture between Dublin-based investment firm D2 Private and UK-based fund Cheyne Capital Management, in 2015. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Clerys was sold to Natrium, a joint venture between Dublin-based investment firm D2 Private and UK-based fund Cheyne Capital Management, in 2015. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Clerys sale

Natrium, the investment group that acquired Clerys department store, aims to double its money with a sale of the O’Connell Street premises in the coming months, reports the Sunday Times.

Clerys was sold to Natrium, a joint venture between Dublin-based investment firm D2 Private and UK-based fund Cheyne Capital Management, in a controversial €29 million deal in 2015.

Citing property sources, the Sunday Times reports that Natrium plans to put the property on the market in April for about €60 million, and commercial property agent Knight Frank will handle the sale.

The paper suggests a high-priced sale is likely to reignite the controversy that has surrounded the property since Natrium acquired it from US property group Gordon Brothers.

Following the sale, the department store was immediately closed and all 460 workers laid off, while the State footed a €2.5 million bill for statutory redundancies.

Fines for greedy UK bosses

According to the Observer, the UK government is planning to introduce sanctions and fines for executives who “line their own pockets” while failing to protect their workers’ pension schemes. The move appears to have been triggered by the high-profile collapse of construction giant Carillon with a deficit of £900 million in its pension scheme.

As a result, a total of 28,000 members of Carillon’s 13 pension schemes are now facing a cut in their retirement funds. Resurrecting a commitment with which she launched her premiership – to govern “not for a privileged few, but for every one of us” – Theresa May said that while governments should not get involved in day-to-day management of business, the state should act now “in favour of ordinary working people”, the Observer reports.

O’Reilly wishes Buckley well after INM departure

Gavin O’Reilly, the former chief executive of Independent News & Media, has wished departing INM chairman Leslie Buckley well following his second high-profile exit from the INM board, the Sunday Business Post reports.

“I know that Leslie has had a most difficult period as both chairman and director. The board of INM is doing the right thing, and hopefully this can put to bed the extraordinary series of events as of late,” O’Reilly told the Sunday Business Post this weekend.

Buckley was previously a non-executive director of INM before being dramatically voted off the board in 2011 while O’Reilly was chief executive. Buckley was later reappointed as a non-executive director and chairman in 2012 and is due to step down on March 1st.

Dealz owner may be put up for sale

Poundland, which trades as Dealz in the Republic, could be put up for sale to ease pressure on its scandal-hit parent Steinhoff, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The paper suggests a string of equity firms – Advent; Apax; Bain; Clayton, Dubilier & Rice; CVC and KKR – have already begun circling the successful discount franchise.

Steinhoff has already sold its luxury Gulfstream 550 private jet to a US aircraft broker to boost liquidity in the wake of an accounting scandal, which has knocked almost 90 per cent off its share price.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that Poundland boss Andy Bond has been sounding out financial backers, including turnaround firm Alteri, about a potential management buyout of the business, which would enable the company take charge of its own future.

ESB plugged into London EV network

ESB will play a key role in the rollout of an electric-charging network in London, underpinning the electrification of 20,000 vehicles within a decade, the Sunday Independent reports.

The energy firm has been appointed to a concessionaire framework, as part of a major Transport for London (TfL) initiative to provide rapid-charging infrastructure and services for electric vehicles in the city.

The paper noted that the ESB would have the ability to bid for up to 300 sites across London, which have been selected by TfL, for the installation of rapid-charge points.