News of investment in NI may be good enough to be true


36 deals worth £392 million secured in the first quarter of 2016

I admit I don’t really understand what the figures mean and how much accrues to people who live and work in northern Ireland. Still, it seems like good news for the professional classes in high tech.

In the first quarter of 2015, there were 42 deals valued at £205.7 million (€256.6m): this year, in the same period, just 36 deals were concluded but at a combined worth of £392.3 million. The jump, Experian says, is down to one deal – the £340 million acquisition by Australian group Wesfarmers’ of Belfast-based Hampden Group, which trades under the brand Homebase, from the Home Retail Group

Turning to the swamps and deserts of property finance, equally amazing is Cerberus’s write off of Paddy Kearney’s £250 million Nama debt. The Bel Tel  intro refers to  :  US vulture fund Cerberus. Deliberate, or a Freudian slip for “ venture?”  Either way the write off It leaves the group, “ going forward( to) the regeneration of Belfast city centre”. As I say, amazing.  Do I hear the faintest echo of  2007-8? Surely not.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • Old Mortality

    I’m fairly sure these figures refer to merger & acquisition activity- buying existing businesses in other words. Nothing for the job counters to get excited about.

  • Msiegnaro

    On the other end of the scale how are some of the smaller firms coping with the minimum wage increasing to £7.20 per hour? I don’t think this is essentially a very good move especially if employers have to reduce their headcounts or the working hours of staff currently employed.

  • Brian Walker

    Old M well yes, but investment suggests growth potential which creates jobs.

  • Karl

    I see companies buying assets. Im not sure how you extrapolate that to investment. Asset stripping, consolidation and corporate addresses could be the outcomes.

  • Kev Hughes

    Karl, you’re on the money there. I work in finance and some M&A work doesn’t necessarily mean a bounce on main street. A few lawyers, accountants and tax professionals have made some money out of this, but as for added jobs etc.? Nope, I won’t hold my breath.

  • Joe Blogs

    I was eavesdropping on the Invest NI team as they were waiting for their flight from Oslo to Dublin. I got the impression that they were a bunch of self important tossers. Seemed to me they were more interested in attending conferences than putting in any real effort to attract business.