Sunday 25 August 2019

Cuckoos' calling: United Hardware warns on 'cuckoo fund' threat to sales

'Cuckoo funds' are posing a threat to the hardware industry because having more renters in Ireland will mean less renovation and maintenance activity, according to the head of United Hardware group. Stock image
'Cuckoo funds' are posing a threat to the hardware industry because having more renters in Ireland will mean less renovation and maintenance activity, according to the head of United Hardware group. Stock image

'Cuckoo funds' are posing a threat to the hardware industry because having more renters in Ireland will mean less renovation and maintenance activity, according to the head of United Hardware group.

Patrick Cassidy - head of the group which encompasses 150 stores in Ireland and owns the HomeValue and Arro brands - said the industry had to be mindful of its past, which showed how exposure to the property and construction industries had to be managed.

Cuckoo funds got their nickname from buying housing en masse with a view to renting it out, which means first-time buyers are deprived of the chance of owning the properties.

"The ownership of large-scale housing portfolios by funds and other investor groups will mean that a much greater proportion of Irish people are likely to become long-term renters who will neither own nor maintain their own properties," said Mr Cassidy. "This changing market dynamic has potential to impact home improvement activity across Ireland, and in turn the DIY and hardware sector which is valued at over €1bn."

Mr Cassidy was speaking at an industry conference earlier this week.

He said the United Hardware group had turnover of more than €145m in 2018 - compared to €87m in 2013. It's expecting further growth next year despite the threat posed by cuckoo funds and Brexit.

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