Friday 19 January 2018

The Punt: Pratt family's adieu to Avoca

Amanda Pratt
Amanda Pratt

It's a final farewell to Avoca for most of the Pratt family, who sold the business to US catering giant Aramark last year for €60m.

While Avoca managing director Simon Pratt had agreed to remain with the business as Aramark forges ahead with ambitious expansion plans for the brand, others, including his parents and siblings, have now resigned as directors following the sale.

New company filings show that Simon's parents Donald and Hilary have resigned as directors of the business, as have siblings Vanessa, Amanda, below, and Ivan.

Last month, it was reported that Ivan had bought back Avoca's wholesale fashion and homeware business.

He was head of sales at Avoca before the sale, and recently established a new company called Mill Mount Weavers to buy out Avoca Handweavers Designs.

Filings for Avoca also show that Aramark Ireland's chief executive, Donal O'Brien, has been appointed a director, as has the group's director of food services, Frank Gleeson.

Thomas Mulryan has been appointed a director of Avoca.

He's the chief financial officer of Aramark Ireland.

Facing up to Murder Inc

"Murder, AK-47s and Drug Wars: Irish Election Just Livened Up." It's pretty much the headline from hell as far as the likes of the IDA and Fáilte Ireland are concerned, and it went out around the world yesterday.

The headline accompanied a story published on the highly regarded Bloomberg newswire and no doubt caused more than a few investors in Irish bonds and stocks to do a double take.

For those in Ireland under the impression that the general election "race" has already collapsed under the weight of its own tedium, Bloomberg puts Dublin's gang crisis to the top of the agenda.

"Minutes from the gleaming buildings of Dublin's International Financial Services Centre, armed police patrolled inner-city streets festooned with election posters this week, trying to stamp down an eruption of gangland violence," reporters told readers around the world.

Whether such reports affect investment decisions will depend on how soon the latest outbreak of violence is contained.

Gang crime is undoubtedly a problem in the capital but if Ireland, famously, is not Greece then Dublin is certainly not Juarez, the Mexican city that became a by-word for lawlessness.

Still, headlines like yesterday's are rightly a reminder than Ireland's reputation as a good place to do business isn't all about tax and talent.

The rule of law matters at home and abroad.

New UDG boss gets options

Just a week or so after his confirmation as the new chief executive of UDG Healthcare, Brendan McAtamney has been granted just over 77,300 nominal value share options in the group, which vest between 2021 and 2023.

Based on UDG's share price of £5 yesterday in London, those shares are currently worth about £387,000 (€495,000).

McAtamney, who succeeded Liam FitzGerald at the company's annual general meeting, now has options over 321,260 shares in the firm, currently valued at £1.6m (€2m).

McAtamney (53) was previously the chief operating officer of UDG, having joined the company in 2013.

He previously held management positions with Abbott, serving as vice president, commercial and corporate officer at the time he left to join the Irish company.

FitzGerald is now a non-executive director of UDG, and oversaw huge change a the company during his tenure as CEO, a role he had held since 2000.

He had joined the company in 1993 as a 28-year-old.

Irish Independent

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