Thursday 14 December 2017

The Punt: Bruton gets in the small talk

Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke
Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke
Law firm Matheson has appointed Tara Doyle, inset, as head of the firm's Asset Management and Investment Funds Group. She succeeds Michael Jackson, who became managing partner of Matheson

Richard Bruton pulled off a slick, and unscripted, performance at the Small Firms Association annual awards yesterday, as he went into full-blown election mode and did his best to persuade the room packed with SMEs that they should vote for Fine Gael.

After AJ Noonan, SFA chairman, laid out all the reasons why Ireland is not as competitive as the UK for entrepreneurs, the minster then took to the podium to hail the "heroes of the recovery" standing in front of him.

"This time around, our jobs growth is built on solid foundations - 45pc of the new jobs are in companies who are orientated towards export markets," he said.

"If you contrast that with the boom in the early thousands, at that stage only 1pc were based on export-orientated companies, 66pc were built on either construction or public services.

"We want to protect that 45pc of new jobs coming from exports."

And he flagged up the risks and challenges, with the message evidently being, 'if you want to get through them, stick with the status quo'.

Seven categories were represented at the SFA showcase.

Big loss for creamery

When Glanbia bought Wexford Creamery back in 2014, it was the end of a protracted deal that put a lot of noses out of joint on both sides of the sale.

The deal received the backing of 57pc of Wexford Milk Producers' (WMP) 326 shareholders in early December 2013.

However, the decision to sell to GIIL proved extremely divisive and led to close to 50 suppliers transferring their supply to Strathroy Dairies.

Despite the controversy it provoked, WMP chairman Marty Murphy insisted that the Glanbia Ingredients Ireland purchase of Wexford Creameries was a good deal for WMP's shareholders.

Well yesterday we saw Wexford Creameries accounts for the year it was sold and they really are not pretty. The accounts for the 13 months to May 2, 2015, show the co-op made a loss of €9.3m. That compared to a restated profit of €14,233 the previous year.

The accounts show Wexford Creamery posting revenue of €75m during the year. Although the directors did not recommend a dividend after the takeover.

The deal saw WMP, which owned 70pc of Wexford Creamery, pay €3m for the 30pc of the business owned by UK's DairyCrest. Glanbia then paid €20m for the business in its entirety.

WMP received a cash payment of €3.7m to fund the DairyCrest buyout.

Visa Europe's new Irish boss

Visa Europe has appointed a fellow called Philip Konopik as its country manager for Ireland.

He joins from UK-based growth consultancy Market Gravity and will be responsible for driving Visa's growth in Ireland.

Visa says nearly €1 out of €3 of Irish consumer spending is made on a Visa card. It's an interesting time to be working in the payments industry as punters move away from cash, with Irish businesses like Stripe and Realex at the forefront of new tech.

Konopik takes over the post from Conor Langford who has been promoted within the Visa organisation.

Visa Europe is an interesting business, which had been separate to Visa Inc since the latter's flotation but was recently sold to it for as much as $23.4bn.

Ireland's three biggest banks, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB, were all shareholders in Visa Europe. About a fortnight ago the banks told The Punt that they didn't know how much they were going to make out of the deal.

The Punt will keep you posted.

Speaking of appointments, law firm Matheson has appointed Tara Doyle, inset, as head of the firm's Asset Management and Investment Funds Group. She succeeds Michael Jackson, who became managing partner of Matheson on January 1.

Irish Independent

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