Morning business news - May 20

Tuesday 20 May 2014 10.06
Morning business news - May 20
Morning business news - May 20

Despite continued uncertainty and pressures in the grocery sector in its key market the UK food company Greencore expects its full year results to be on target.

For the past six months Greencore has delivered 8% growth in revenue to just under €620m and 14% growth in operating profit to €37m.

“We’re investing behind our sandwich and food to go business and we’ve really stepped it up in the last few months”, said company CEO Patrick Coveney.

He cited two investments in the US as well as a newly-announced investment in a British facility which he said were “capitalising on the momentum” in its business.

He said shifting trends in the grocery business – namely the move away from large multiples towards smaller stores – was a boost to Greencore’s business as this was generally the ideal location for people buying snacks and lunches.

“In a market in the UK where food volumes overall have stayed very flat and where that’s impacting on our customers overall, the fact that their convenience store openings are growing very strongly is really helping our business,” he said. 

He said the company had managed to increase margins during the period, though that continued to be a challenging area as all areas of the industry sought to keep competitive.

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Property group Ballymore has established a joint venture to develop three large scale residential sites across London in a £2 billion scheme.

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Drinks group C&C - owner of the Bulmers cider brand - has reported a full year operating profit of €127m in line with expectations as its net revenue climbed 30% to €620m

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The American venture capital fund Lightstone Ventures has raised a fund of $172m including investment from the National Pension Reserve Fund and Enterprise Ireland.

Lightstone will use the fund to invest in companies in the life sciences sector here. It has already invested in Fire1, an Irish medical devices company.

The new fund is the latest in a series of such ventures under the innovation fund Ireland initiative through which the government committed €125m in funding to be managed by Enterprise Ireland and through which it has partnered with a number of venture capital firms.

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Real estate investment trust Hibernia has acquired a portfolio of three properties in Dublin city centre in a €16m deal.

The Chancery Building and Chancery Apartments deliver a combined annual rent roll of just over €2m according to Hibernia. 

It has also bought an adjoining site. Hibernia says it has gained control of these assets by purchasing a loan secured on them and reaching agreement with the original owners of the site.

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Australia's football players -that's soccer not Aussie rules - are facing pay cuts over the next four years when they represent their country in international matches.

Football Federation Australia currently pays the Socceroos a flat fee per match, thought to be in the region of €4,500, but it wants to move to a performance related pay model where the fee will be linked to how profitable each game is.

FFA boss David Gallop said the Socceroos were not attracting the same crowds as they used to and that pay should more accurately reflect this.