Kennedy Wilson mulls sale of Shelbourne Hotel for €260m

Seen & Heard: Energy for data centres and ‘brain drain’ warning

Kennedy Wilson, the US commercial property giant, is considering selling the Shelbourne Hotel on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin for €260 million, the Sunday Times has reported.

A deal at that price would deliver a large return for the California-based group, which paid $152 million (€138 million) for the five-star establishment in 2014 when it changed hands under a distressed sale.

The newspaper said Kennedy Wilson, which was one of the most acquisitive overseas buyers of Irish real estate in the wake of the property crash, has appointed Eastdil Secured to look for a buyer for a 50 per cent stake in the business. However, it said that Kennedy Wilson would also consider selling the entire property.

The report notes that the Shelbourne is Kennedy Wilson’s only fully-owned operating hotel. It co-owns a five-star hotel in Hawaii, called Kona Village.


Energy for data centres

Shamrock Renewable Products, a green briquettes maker backed by the owners of the Mercantile hospitality group, is in talks to sell electricity to data centres from a €125 million willow-burning power station it plans to build in Co Meath, the Sunday Independent reports.

The company is best known for its WillowWarm briquettes, which are being marketed as an alternative to the now defunct Bord na Móna peat briquettes. The products are made from Irish-grown renewable softwood, primarily willow.

Shamrock is a partnership between energy industry veteran Alan Fox and the Mercantile Group, which owns a number of well-known Dublin pubs, including Café en Seine, the George and Whelan’s. The company has planning permission to develop the station, the report states.

SSE plans biofuel power plant in Co Kerry

The Sunday Independent also reports that SSE, the UK-based energy utility, is planning to transform its Tarbert Power Station in Co Kerry into a plant that is run on sustainable biofuels.

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A unit of the group has submitted for planning to develop the 350 megawatt (MW) power plant, which would be run initially on hydrotreated vegetable oil and has the potential to convert to hydrogen, the report said.

The existing oil-powered Tarbert Power Station is required to close this year in line with its environmental licence, it noted.

Finance officials warn of ‘brain drain’

The Business Post reports that a Department of Finance report has warned that a significant downturn in the State’s multinational sector could trigger a damaging “brain drain” from the country, as highly-educated employees emigrate to find work.

The report said this would mark a third element of a triple whammy to the economy, as such a downturn would also hit corporation and income tax.

The report comes as it emerged on Friday that the Irish economy has officially fallen into a technical recession, with quarterly national accounts released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) that gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 1.9 per cent in the three months to September.

Quarterly national accounts released by the CSO on Friday show the decline was greater than a preliminary estimate published in October, which put the GDP contraction at 1.8 per cent.

Revisions to earlier figures show there has now been negative GDP growth for four quarters in a row, the CSO said, despite initial estimates showing GDP was slightly positive in the second quarter.