Top stories in the papers this week 24 – 27 May 2010

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Moy Park in £26m deal to buy key rival; M&S wary of planned UK budget cuts as profits rise by 4.6%; Council doubles parking time for motorists in Limerick city



27 May 2010

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1. Moy Park in £26m deal to buy key rival

Moy Park, the Northern Ireland poultry processor, has bought one of its closest rivals – the family-owned O’Kane Poultry business – in a deal worth £26 million. Moy Park which was purchased by the Brazilian food group Marfrig two years ago, is currently a major supplier to Tesco Ireland, Dunnes Stores and Superquinn, while O’Kane counts Marks & Spencer as one of its largest customers. The Irish Times reports the buyover is subject to both due diligence and regulatory approval but is expected to be formally approved by early autumn.

2. M&S wary of planned UK budget cuts as profits rise by 4.6%

Marks & Spencer has unveiled an adjusted pre-tax profit of £632.5m (€738m) for the year to the end of March, up 4.6% on the previous year, slightly beating analyst estimates. The Irish Independent reports the retailer claims to have improved its performance in “all core areas,” while sales of food returned to positive like-for-like growth for the first time in two years. It added that while Ireland and Greece had been heavily impacted by the economic downturn, the group ensured that pricing in the two countries was "competitive" and that stock was "controlled tightly".

3. Council doubles parking time for motorists in Limerick city

City centre retailers in Limerick received a boost this week, when the City Council announced it will scrap all one-hour parking areas and give motorists two hours of parking with discs for the same price of €2. The Limerick Leader reports the move, due to come into operation in the next few weeks, comes following a series of meetings between the Limerick City Traders Association, the Limerick Chamber, and management at City Hall. A30 minute parking zone will also be introduced via the Park Magic toll-parking system.

4. Asda to take over Netto stores

Supermarket giant Asda has announced it is acquiring the UK arm of discount retailer Netto in a move set to add another 193 stores to its estate. The Independent (UK) reports Asda has agreed a £778 million deal to buy the stores, which it aims to convert to the Asda brand by next summer. The group said it hopes to complete the takeover later this summer, subject to regulatory approval.

5. Gardaí link Irish bank accounts to drugs gang

A number of small cash-based retail businesses have been targeted in searches by gardaí – as part of an operation to discover bank accounts linked to a Spanish based drugs gang led by Dubliner Christy Kinahan. The Irish Times reports over 50 searches have now been carried out in Dublin and Meath at residential properties and at offices of accountants and solicitors also. Investigators believe the businesses were being used to launder drugs money, and a dedicated money laundering unit are now following the money trail.


Retailers more optimistic but one-in-five expect to cut jobs (Irish Independent)

Asda sales make weak start to the year (Guardian, UK)

D12 retail units to rent (Irish Times)

Daily Mail & General Trust hails profit recovery (Guardian, UK)

Ocado signs new exclusive 10-year deal to supply Waitrose products (Guardian, UK)

M&S results just beat market expectations (RTE)

With Rose leaving M&S, will new chief blossom? (Irish Times)

Thorntons’ shares in meltdown after profit warning (Guardian, UK)

BP plays its final card to stop leak: sludge (Independent, UK)



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