The Irish Times reports that Repak has dismissed its long-standing chief executive Andrew Hetherington following an inquiry by accountants Grant Thornton into alleged financial irregularities at the industry-funded recycling body. Following repeated inquiries this week from the newspaper, Repak yesterday confirmed its board has terminated Mr Hetherington’s contract. It is understood he was dismissed from his position in March. “The board has now placed the matter in the hands of its lawyers and for legal reasons no further comment can be made,” Repak said.
It is understood the organisation, which has about 2,500 companies as members, will advertise this week for a new chief executive. Mr Hetherington, who has since returned to his home in Scotland, yesterday confirmed that he had been in legal correspondence with Repak in connection with the circumstances surrounding his dismissal. He denied any knowledge of any financial irregularities at the company, where he took over as chief executive in 1996. “I don’t know about that,” he said.
Pernod Ricard has hit its full-year profits targets helped by an “outstanding performance” from its Jameson whiskey brand, reports The Irish Indpendent. Pernod, the owners of Irish Distillers, said it had hit its 2013 target of around 6% organic profit growth from continuing operations, despite an ongoing slowdown in key market China. The French spirits maker, the world's second-biggest drinks group by sales after Britain's Diageo, raised its dividend on the back of the results. It said it will propose a dividend of €1.64, an increase of 4%. After sales grew 5% in the most recent quarter, full year sales at the owner of Absolut jumped 4% to € 8.6bn. Unlike most companies, Pernod’s financial year runs from July to June. Net income was €1.2bn, up from €1.1bn last year. Sales rose by 10% in emerging markets despite a slowdown in the second half of the year, particularly in China. There was similarly strong growth in the US (8%) but declines in France and Spain.
The Grafton Group is considering moving its listing to London in what would be another huge blow for the Irish Stock Exchange, reports The Irish Examiner. The company, which yesterday reported a strong set of figures for the first half of the year, said it was consulting with shareholders but that it felt the time was right to look at its listing. The group, which owns Chadwicks, Heiton Buckley, and Woodie’s DIY, reported a huge increase of profits before tax, rising from €15.8m to €60.5m. Underlying profit before tax increased 28%, to €28.7m from €22.5m, as the company benefited from strong barbecue and garden furniture sales. Grafton chief executive Gavin Slark said despite the possibility of a change in listing, the company remained committed to Ireland. “Whatever happens we still have 2,000 people working for us in Ireland and our commitment to Ireland remains absolute,” he said.
The Bank of England Governor's second attempt to convince investors that he would keep interest rates at rock bottom for the next three years left markets unmoved, reports The Financial Times. Mark Carney used his first big speech to stress that the BOE could hold rates at record lows even after unemployment fell below 7%. He reiterated that the policy could be eased further through measures such as extra quantitiative easing if markets failed to respond to its forward guidance. However markets still think that borrowing costs will rise sooner than that, with a rate rise priced in for the second half of 2015.