Tuesday 19 November 2019

US equity giant Blackstone to lend money to Irish SMEs

THE COW'S LICK: Is it a brave new dawn for Irish agri-businesses, now that the brakes have been taken off milk production? Moo knows
THE COW'S LICK: Is it a brave new dawn for Irish agri-businesses, now that the brakes have been taken off milk production? Moo knows
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Blackstone, the US private equity giant that until recently was locked in a dispute with Cork developer Michael O'Flynn, is willing to lend money to Irish SMEs.

The firm hasn't announced the plan publicly, but we are reliably informed that Blackstone will consider deals if approached by a borrower.

The US giant is targeting companies at the upper end of the SME spectrum.

Irish SMEs have been hit hard by the downturn and many have found it difficult to raise money from traditional sources like banks.

Aryzta set for Picard buy-in

Swiss-Irish bakery group Aryzta hopes to splash out €450m to buy a 49pc stake in French food company Picard.

Aryzta said it has entered exclusive negotiations for a strategic investment with Lion Capital.

The deal would largely be funded by the proceeds of selling off a €400m chunk of its stake in Origin Enterprises.

EU milk quotas lifted

The EU's milk quotas were lifted last week after 30 years of tightly controlled milk production, paving the way for a jump in Irish milk production.

The move will create 9,500 extra jobs in Ireland, and more than €1.3bn additional export revenue a year, a study by the Irish Farmers' Association estimated.

"Facts would suggest that Irish dairy farmers are well placed to capitalise on the end of quotas, and in so doing help develop the dairy and agribusiness sector with major increases in direct and indirect employment," IFA National Dairy Committee chairman Sean O'Leary said.

Kerrygold owner, the Irish Dairy Board, rebranded itself as Ornua.

Greek law targets Ireland

Ireland has been targeted by a new Greek law seeking to crack down on corporate tax avoidance.

Greek companies looking to repatriate profits from here, Bulgaria and Cyprus will have to pay a "withholding tax" equivalent to Greece's 26pc corporation tax rate, even if they have already paid tax on profits here, unless they can show they weren't engaged in tax avoidance.

Bulgaria complained to the EC, saying the law would undermine the common market. A Department of Finance spokesman couldn't confirm if Ireland would complain too.

Tall order for Nama plan

US investment firm Kennedy Wilson has teamed up with Nama in looking to build a major Dublin office/apartment development in Dublin that includes a skyscraper.

Kennedy Wilson applied for planning permission to build 313,000 sq ft of office space and 204 apartments at the Capital Docks site on John Rogerson's Quay, across the Liffey from the 3 Arena.

The €200m development includes plans for three office blocks and two apartment buildings. One of the apartment buildings would be 66 metres high - making it the tallest residential building in Dublin. The building would be one metre shorter than the tallest office block in the city.

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