Wednesday, October 10 08:13:34
After 55 years in the motor trade, Ireland's best known car dealer, Bill Cullen, has been put off the road by his main lender. Staff at Mr Cullen's Glencullen Holdings, which operates dealerships in Swords and Liffey Valley in Dublin, were told yesterday that Ulster Bank had decided to appoint receivers Kavanagh Fennell to the company to secure its loans. The bank is believed to be to owed about E12 million.
In a statement issued to The Irish Times on behalf of Mr Cullen, Ulster Bank's decision was described as a "sad occasion" for the veteran businessman. The loss of his business will also hit Mr Cullen financially. He is the biggest creditor of Glencullen, being owed E19.5 million. Latest accounts for Glencullen Holdings Ltd show that Mr Cullen had also provided a letter of guarantee of E1.2 million as security for the loans along with the assignment of a life assurance policy. A source close to Mr Cullen said he had fought "tooth and nail" recently to retain control of the business.
However, a decline in car sales this year and other factors have resulted in him losing control of the business. In August, Mr Cullen lost the Renault dealership, ending a long-standing relationship with the company. He had held the national franchise for the French carmaker from 1986 to 2007. The Irish Times
A TOTAL of nine European countries have joined Germany and France in the push for a common European tax on financial transactions. Dublin will not be participating, but the initiative heralds more discomfort for the Government in its relations with its EU partners. The development could yet have major implications for the defence of Ireland's corporate tax regime. The idea behind the tax is simple. With taxpayers throughout Europe supporting stricken banks to the tune of hundreds of billions of euro, the objective is to ensure that a volatile financial system makes a greater contribution to society at large.
Irish banks are the beneficiaries of some E64 billion in capital from the increasingly indebted, cash-strapped State, so many observers might see many good moral and financial reasons for Ireland to take part. That's not how the Government sees it, however. Britain is abstaining from the tax. Therefore, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan fears financial institutions would move their business to the City of London from the Irish Financial Services Centre if Ireland joined while Britain stayed out.
Noonan's overriding concern is to avoid doing anything that would threaten the employment of 33,000 people in the Irish financials sector. Amid soaring unemployment, this is a forceful argument. The Minister also says Ireland already charges a 1 per cent stamp duty on all share deals, a charge smaller in scope than the proposed European tax because it is levied on transactions in derivatives. But the plan agreed yesterday still presents a new swathe of complications to the Government. For one thing, it puts Ireland in the opposite camp to most euro zone countries at a time when Noonan is facing acute difficulty in his long campaign for bank debt relief. The Irish Times
An investigator acting for the former Anglo Irish Bank posed as a "government agent" when he contacted the then fiancee of Sean Quinn Junior last year asking detailed questions about her personal affairs, it has been claimed before the Commercial Court. The "government agent" intimated to Karen Woods (who married Sean Quinn jnr earlier this year before he was jailed for contempt of court orders restraining asset stripping from Quinn companies) that she was under an obligation to answer his questions, Niall McPartland, son-in-law of Sean Quinn snr, said in an affidavit. The "government agent" was Denis O'Sullivan of Risk Management International, who contacted Ms Woods in June 2011 when she was not involved in any litigation between the Quinns and Anglo (now Irish Bank Resolution Corporation), Mr McPartland said.
Mr O'Sullivan told Ms Woods he was privy to a wide variety of information, including personal and financial information, about her and her wider family but refused to say how he got that information and instead tried to get further private and personal information while holding himself out as a representative of a "government agency", he added. Ms Woods had "real concerns" about her safety and privacy and had considered reporting the matter to the Garda but an agreement was reached between the Quinn family's then solicitors, Eversheds, and lawyers for IBRC that Mr O'Sullivan would never contact Ms Woods again, he said. Within two weeks of Eversheds being permitted last August to cease representing the family, Mr O'Sullivan made numerous attempts over a 24-hour period to contact her on her personal mobile and work phones, Mr McPartland said. Ms Woods contacted IBRC's solicitors, who apologised and told her Mr O'Sullivan was seeking to serve her with legal proceedings, he said. The Irish Times
Kerry Group is one of corporate Ireland's great success stories. Set up by a group of Kerry farmers in a muddy caravan in a field in Listowel in 1972, it has become a food behemoth worth more than E7bn and employing 25,000 people. Today, the company makes much of its money supplying ingredients and seasoning but back in the early-1970s products like this were unheard of. The farmers' smartest move was to entice Denis Brosnan back from London where he was an accountant to run what was then called Kerry Foods at the age of 27. Brosnan and colleague Hugh Friel, who became the company's second chief executive when Brosnan retired in 2002, had a clear plan from the beginning, but it is unlikely that even these two visionaries were able to anticipate just how successful Kerry would become.
The company was born just as Ireland joined the European Economic Community and gave Kerry farmers a vehicle to exploit the changes that membership of the EU's forerunner provided. Target Kerry quickly targeted North America and became an early champion of the food ingredients industry -- a far-sighted move that helped to distinguish Kerry from mainstream food companies. The company floated in 1986 and continued to expand through a series of acquisitions which pushed Kerry deep into the US (where it has a rare knack for buying the right companies) and further afield to places like China, which were then largely ignored by European companies. The acquisition of Beatreme Food Ingredients in 1988, for which Kerry paid E130m, was a game-changer that gave Kerry a huge presence in the food ingredients sector. The $440m acquisition of Quest in 2004 was another. The Irish Independent
Cement giant CRH has pulled out of the running to buy a stake in India's third-biggest cement manufacturer, Jaypee. The two companies have been in talks since the start of August, but CRH said negotiations had been terminated because the parties were unable to agree terms. Shares in CRH closed down 1.5pc at E14.45 each yesterday. The company is a regular buyer of bolt-on deals, including spending E250m on 18 acquisitions in the first half of this year alone. That included increasing its stake in Chinese associate Yatai Building Materials.
The planned Indian investment was to buy an initial 51pc in the cement operations of the Jaiprakash (Jaypee) Associate conglomerate's cement assets in the state of Gujarat, with the option of hiking the stake to 65pc over three years. There was speculation in the markets that CRH could pay as much as E600m for the stake. Expand As well as owning India's third-largest cement maker, the Jaypee Group has a string of other businesses and is involved in sectors including hospitality, power and property. CRH has been keen to expand into India, and is already a player in a number of emerging markets. The Irish Independent