McKillens to retain control under IPO plan; Web Summit profits; and what to do with Nama’s €3bn surplus

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

Web Summit’s co-founder Paddy Cosgrave: the Lisbon move has proved very lucrative to the firm behind the event

Web Summit’s co-founder Paddy Cosgrave: the Lisbon move has proved very lucrative to the firm behind the event


Members of the McKillen family and top management at Press Up Entertainment aim to maintain a controlling stake of the hospitality group as they consider raising as much as €60 million of fresh equity in an initial public offering (IPO), according to sources. Press Up operates about 30 businesses including the Dean Hotel in Dublin, Wowburger franchise and Stella theatre in Rathmines. Joe Brennan reports how management and advisers to the rapidly expanding firm, in which Paddy McKillen snr is the main shareholder, have begun gauging market appetite in recent weeks for a flotation of the business.

Lisbon seems to be a lucrative destination for the Web Summit, judging by latest account of the firm behind it. It has reported a surge in profits in 2016, the year it first ran the event in Portugal.

How to spend €3 billon: that may be the subject of a future Dail debate if recommendations of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee are followed. The PAC has called for a debate on how to use the projected surplus on the wind-up of Nama. The committee’s report also criticised as “unacceptable” ongoing delays to the Government’s National Broadband Plan.

There was much-needed good news for Providence Resources on Wednesday, as the explorer found a partner to exploit its Barryroe prospect of the south coast. However, Cantillon cautions against popping any champagne corks just yet.

Cantillon also muses on the latest Central Bank concerns over PCP car finance deals, which should be seen in light of earlier statistics this week showing the number of Irish people using the services of licensed moneylenders is close to an all-time high.

In technology and innovation, Ciara O’Brien tracks how high-flying fintech start-up Plynk ran into serious turbulence over funding, while Charlie Taylor talks to the founders of an ingenious start-up making waves with a potential solution to plastic waste. The ocean’s turtles will be happy if it works out.

Facebook’s woes feature in the columns of both Karlin Lillington and Chris Horn. Karlin argues that these days “if you exist, it’s basically impossible for you not to be producing digital data that is harvested”. Meanwhile Chris writes that it was a telling shift for Mark Zuckerberg who long argued that Facebook should break things, to now admit that “I’m not sure we shouldn’t be regulated”.