Financing the stone: Inside Denis O'Brien's Topaz sale

Last week’s acquisition of the company raised questions about why O’Brien chose to sell up now

6th December, 2015
Denis O’Brien sold Topaz for an estimated €450 million Pictures: Maura Hickey/Jason Clarke

For much of this year, teams of Canadians have been criss-crossing Ireland. Their goal was to find out directly what was going on in Topaz. Poring over the company’s books was one thing, but there was nothing like being on the ground talking to the people who operate the forecourts. After all, petrol retailing is one of the most cut-throat of businesses, where profit margins are as low as 1 per cent and the difference...

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