IDA has legal costs awarded against it in row with Connect Ireland

Seen and heard: Irish Distillers looks to sell Cork craft brewer; Revenue scales up enforcement actions; conditions expected to be attached to AIB’s Ulster Bank mortgage book; and Port f Cork explores LNG facility

IDA Ireland, the State’s inward investment agency, has had costs awarded against it in a dispute with Connect Ireland, an initiative founded by tech entrepreneur Terry Clune to find foreign investors willing to create jobs in the Republic, according to the Sunday Independent.

Connect Ireland, which entered a contract with the State via the IDA to run an investment-seeking scheme for the Republic, is in dispute with the IDA over the use of its jobs leads, the report said. An arbitrator recently found in Connect Ireland’s favour in several aspects of the row and the arbitration process has now moved on to a second phase to establish compensation awards. The report said board members of the IDA and the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar has been made aware of details of the row. The IDA was led until last week by chief executive Martin Shanahan, who is set to take up a role with Grant Thornton in the new year.

Irish Distillers seeks buyer for beer business

Irish Distillers is looking for a buyer for its craft beer business, Eight Degrees Brewing, the Sunday Independent reported. It said the Pernod Ricard-owned distillery group hired consultants EY earlier this year to help it sell the beer business it bought in 2018. The Cork-based company holds about 5.6 per cent of the craft beer market.


AIB funding for nonbank lenders

AIB will be compelled by competition regulators to financially support nonbank lenders such as Finance Ireland and Dilosk/ICS Mortgages, in order to get its buyout of Ulster Bank’s €6 billion mortgage book over the line, according to the Sunday Times. The support could come in the form of the bank being asked to buy securities of nonbank lenders, which Bank of Ireland was asked to do to get approval for its purchase of €9 billion of loans from KBC Bank Ireland.

Revenue enforcement actions

Revenue has dramatically scaled up enforcement actions on unpaid taxes. The Sunday Independent reported it was taking enforcement action on about €300 million worth of debts at the end of September, up 64 per cent on the previous month. Much of the action was being undertaken by the division of Revenue that handles small businesses. Sheriffs were called in on about €160 million of the enforcement actions, while €132.7 million was with solicitors and €7.4 million in attachment proceedings.

ESB to invest in UK power retailer

ESB will have to invest up to €40 million into struggling UK power retailer So Energy or face dilution of its investment in the company, the Sunday Times reported. It said the UK business has appointed advisers to help it raise £50 million (€58 million) in funding. ESB invested in the company last year.

Port of Cork and LNG facility

The Port of Cork has signed heads of agreement with US firm Pilot LNG to explore the possibility of setting up a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Cork harbour, the Business Post has reported. It says the port has signed a provisional contract to “explore the logistics” of acquiring a floating facility.

Shortage of taxis for Christmas

Taxi app Free Now has warned of a shortage of cabs in the run-up to Christmas, the Business Post reports. It said demand for taxis was now 30 per cent higher than it was before the pandemic.