Monday 19 March 2018

Linked Finance hires new COO

Lloyd Nolan
Lloyd Nolan

The Punt

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance has hired Lloyd Nolan as its chief operating officer.

Nolan joins from computer software giant Symantec, where he was senior operations director of the customer management centre for Europe, the Middle East and Asia (EMEA).

He's also been senior director of EMEA Renewals and a senior site executive at Symantec.

Before joining Symantec Nolan was responsible for the operations of Irish software technology company QSET Software.

He'll have responsibility for risk monitoring and getting new businesses on to the platform, among other things.

Nolan will also assist Linked's chief executive Peter O'Mahony - the man behind Dublin comedy club The Laughter Lounge - with investor relations and fundraising.

Linked aims to lend €20m in the next 12 months and €250m to 5,000 SMEs by 2017.

It's currently trying to get the Central Bank to introduce a regulatory scheme to increase public confidence in peer-to-peer lending.

Linked recently secured a €50,000 loan for Vit Hits maker Vitz Drinks.


Haiti rises as a tourist hotspot

Half a century ago Haiti's Hotel Trianon provided the backdrop to Graham Greene's Cold War drama 'The Comedians'.

In the movie the hotel was presided over by Richard Burton as British expat "Brown", playing alongside the impossibly glamorous Elizabeth Taylor. The movie was a global hit, but don't try booking a room because the Trianon was fictional.

Indeed, no less an authority than former US President Bill Clinton says Haitian tourism has been held back by the lack of internationally branded hotels - the kind that offer travellers familiarity in otherwise strange lands.

But on February 24 the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, will get its first Marriott hotel, built by businessman Denis O'Brien's telecoms group Digicel, the Caribbean's largest mobile phone company.

"There are a lot of good hotels in Haiti, but there needed to be a multinational brand. That's why we decided to spend $45m building a hotel in Port-au-Prince," he told the 'Miami Herald'.

The 175-bed property will create 200 jobs and champion local produce. The plan is to help Haiti regain its status as a Caribbean tourist destination.

Mr O'Brien, who owns shares in Independent News and Media, is already a major investor in Haiti and not only commercially.

The philanthropic Digicel Foundation has just reached the remarkable milestone of building its 150th school in the country, most of them since a devastating earthquake in 2010.

Meanwhile, though built by Digicel the new hotel in Port-au-Prince will be operated by Marriott, one of the big global players in the hotel sector.


Building boost for Portwest 

There is no shortage of surveys and indices purporting to measure the economy, but the Punt reckons garment maker Portwest's news of a 50pc rise in sales of some high-visibility and work-wear over the past eight months is as good as any.

Heavy duty construction clobber wasn't exactly flying off the shelves when the country's army of builders and tradesmen were sidelined after the financial crash.

But Portwest, based in Westport, Co Mayo, says such sales are on the up. The fourth-generation business, owned by brothers Cathal, Harry and Owen Hughes, has been around since 1904 and weathered more than one storm in its history.

In fact an international focus means the company, which is exhibiting at the 2015 Hardware Show at Citywest Hotel, Dublin, says turnover has increased from €10m to €100m since 2010, even as Ireland was in the doldrums.

"Portwest is an Irish company to the core and while it's great to be known worldwide as leader in the sector, it's better for everybody for this to happen on home turf," according to Owen Hughes.

Irish Independent

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