Business Irish

Friday 20 September 2019

Shovlin racing ahead with new UK mobile business

Julian Shovlin has targeted a 70-shop chain
Julian Shovlin has targeted a 70-shop chain
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Julian Shovlin, the son of the once Ferrari-driving, boom-time developer Paddy Shovlin (who went bankrupt in 2012) is dialling into quite a business in the UK.

The young Shovlin is behind iSmash, a mobile phone repair business backed by Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross. It emerged in recent days that the company has entered into a deal to open three new concessions in British electronics retailer Maplin.

Julian Shovlin, iSmash's founder and managing director, told the Daily Telegraph the Maplin deal would allow his company to expand into retail parks and appeal to a wider customer.

The company, which also repairs laptops, tablets and drones, has grown to 20 shops since January - up from 11 - and plans to open seven more standalone stores this year.

The concessions in Maplin are a trial run after which Maplin will decide whether it wants to roll them out more widely. "I believe Maplin's aspiration is to have concessions in nearly all of its stores," said Shovlin. Maplin has more than 200 shops in the UK and Ireland.

iSmash generated £7.5m (€8.4m) in revenue in 2016 and is forecasting that to rise to £11.8m in the current year.

The company is also in talks to link up with device manufacturers and insurance companies. Shovlin, who like his father is not short of ambition, is aiming for a chain of 70 shops by 2020.

Ins and outs at Davy's equity research desk

There have been some musical chairs at Davy, with some notable changes to the equity-analysis team. Most noteworthy is the departure of Caren Crowley, a natural resources sector analyst, who has left as Davy slims down its coverage of that sector. Goodbody stopped covering the sector a number of years ago. Job Langbroek, a former Ireland rugby international, will remain in place covering the sector however. Another departure is Emer Lang, who covers the financial sector. She is retiring shortly after almost 30 years with Davy.

There have been a couple of additions too. Joe Quinn has joined from Investec and is covering travel and leisure. Colin Grant, most recently of Bank of Ireland, is covering property. The reshuffle comes ahead of new European rules that will mean most asset managers may have to change the way they pay for research.

Nerves are jangling no doubt.

CNBC decamps to Ireland to talk Brexit, tech and Cork

American business TV station CNBC's flagship international show Squawk Box is heading to our shores this week for a special week of programming on the Irish economy.

And there is certainly plenty to talk about. The crew will spend time in Dublin, Belfast and Cork with themes including Irish business and finance (coming live from the IFSC of course), Brexit and Ireland's tech scene. Several leading lights of Irish business have been lined up by the production team including Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe; Peter Barrett, the chief executive of SMBC Aviation Capital; the IDA's Martin Shanahan; Pat Gunne of Green REIT; and Fiona Muldoon of FBD Holdings.

The businesspeople of Cork, who often feel the poor relation to Dublin, should be pleased. CNBC is spending next Friday in the city and will speak with Brendan Keating, chief executive of the Port of Cork. The theme for that episode is Irish shipping and Cork as a business hub. It's not quite Cork as the 'real capital' but a decent bit of airtime nonetheless.

Sunday Indo Business

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