TEELING TOASTS LOUTH DISTILLERY PROFIT BOOST - Operating profits at John Teeling's Great Northern Distillery soared 36% to €7.6m in its last financial year as turnover at the business surged. 

Newly filed accounts for the company show that revenue hit €19.2m in the 12 months to the end of last April, compared with €13.6m the previous year. The distillery, which is located on the site of the former Harp brewery in Dundalk, Co Louth, operates stills that produce a range of whiskey spirits. It also operates a small-scale gin still. The Harp brewery site was closed and sold by Diageo in 2013. Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Teeling said that the growth in revenue was due to the coming on stream of three-year-old whiskey that had been matured by the firm. "Revenue probably won't increase by that much this year, maybe by about 10%," he added. Great Northern Distillery sells its whiskey in bulk to other firms that own private-label brands. It is making the equivalent of about 700,000 bottles of whiskey a week, with 50% to 60% of it being sold immediately, said Mr Teeling. It employs more than 30 people at the Co Louth site. The accounts for Great Northern Distillery, which is owned by Mr Teeling, his sons and managers who were the founders and former management team at Cooley Distillery, show that the business had accumulated profits of €15.1m at the end of last April. Mr Teeling sold the Cooley Distillery in Co Louth in 2011 to US firm Beam for €71m.

PENSIONS ROW FIX COULD THREATEN FUTURE OF STATE PAYMENTS, ACTUARIES WARN - Reintroducing a transition pension to bridge the gap to the State pension for those retiring at 65 threatens the sustainability of the whole system, Ireland's actuaries have warned. 

The Society of Actuaries, whose members specialise in assessing future risk in areas such as pensions, says it is important that any return of the transition pension to calm voter anger ahead of the general election can only be a temporary measure, writes the Irish Times. "A permanent transition pension arrangement would represent a failure to address the reality of the situation," they say. During the campaign, both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have reversed their previous positions on the rising age at which people qualify for the State pension, committing to bring back the transition pension - payable at the same rate as the State pension - for workers forced to leave their job before the State pension kicks in. Other parties have proposed even more dramatic moves to reverse the process. Legislation passed in 2011 saw the abolition of the transition pension in 2014 with the State pension age becoming 66. It is due to rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028.

ACCUMULATED PROFITS AT KATHRYN THOMAS FIRM RISE TO €421,488 - Accumulated profits at the media firm owned by television presenter Kathryn Thomas increased to €421,488 last year. 

Newly-filed accounts for Aquarius Productions show the company recorded a profit of €29,723 in the 12 months to the end of last February, down from €37,288 in the previous year, says the Irish Examiner. In the latest year, the company’s current assets - made up of cash and monies owed by debtors - totalled €374,012. Ms Thomas is currently fronting RTÉ’s ratings juggernaut Operation Transformation, which has returned for a 13th series. The move to a 9.35pm slot on a Wednesday has increased audience share and total audience for the show. Away from her on-screen work, Ms Thomas set up health and fitness bootcamp business, Pure Results Bootcamp Ltd in 2014 and the most recent accounts show that the business has accumulated profits of €65,016 at the end of October 2018. The company recorded more modest profits of €4,642 for the year after enjoying profits of €44,275 in 2017. The Pure Results boot camp organises weekend and week-long retreats at the likes of Parknasilla Hotel in Co Kerry and the Oliva Nova Beach Resort in Spain.

UK PENSIONS WATCHDOG FINES CITY REGULATOR - The retirement scheme of the UK Financial Conduct Authority has been fined by the UK's Pensions Regulator in a rare instance of one watchdog training its fire on another. 

The authority’s pension plan has been handed a £2,000 penalty by the pensions watchdog after the annual statement from its chairwoman failed to provide enough information to the scheme’s members. It is the heaviest fine that the regulator can impose for such a breach and is embarrassing for the authority, which is responsible for overseeing conduct in the City, says The Times. The authority was set up in 2013 and regulates more than 59,000 firms, ranging from the big banks to brokers offering motor finance. Under the tenure of Andrew Bailey, its outgoing chief executive who will become the next governor of the Bank of England is March, the watchdog has been criticised over its response to several controversies. In the past year these have included the 237m London Capital and Finance minibond scandal and the implosion of Neil Woodford's fund management empire.