Ardagh 'not immune to recession' as earnings last year fell by 10pc
Earnings at Ardagh Glass, the manufacturer controlled by financier Paul Coulson that has just agreed to pay €1.7bn to acquire Impress Group, fell 10pc last year to €235m from €262m as it was hit by the global downturn.
The profit figure for the company was revealed in accounts lodged in Luxembourg and seen by the Irish Independent for Mr Coulson's privately-held investment vehicle, Yeoman Capital.
Ardagh Glass is one of Europe's biggest glass container manufacturers, with annual revenues in the region of €1.2bn and employing more than 6,000 people.
It bought Impress, which produces cans for companies such as Del Monte and John West, from private-equity group Doughty Hanson.
The decline in Ardagh's earnings before interest, tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the last financial year to €235m followed a 45pc rise in EBITDA that was notched up by the group in 2008.
The accounts also show that Yeoman Capital, which controls almost 40pc of Ardagh Glass, received a total €7.5m from share buybacks undertaken by Ardagh during 2009 as part of a financial restructuring.
After the end of 2009, Yeoman received an additional €3.7m as part of a further buyback by Ardagh.
Yeoman's accounts note that the company then redeemed over 977,000 of its own debentures with a par value of €8.1m, using that €3.7m payment as well as distributions received from other investments.
Delivering an assessment of Ardagh's performance during 2009, the Yeoman Capital accounts state that the glass maker wasn't immune to the global recession.
Yeoman also received €615,000 from Ardagh in the form of management, corporate finance and consultancy fees in 2009.
Provision was made at the year-end for the payment of €783,000 in management fees to Shrewsbury Investments, a company wholly owned by Mr Coulson and his family.
Yeoman also received a final payment of €700,000 related to the 2007 sale of South Wharf plc, the Irish company that owned the controversial Irish Glass Bottle site. The accounts also point to a revised valuation on its holding in Ardagh.
Ardagh Glass accounts for 87pc of Yeoman's investment holdings, while it also has stakes in cement firm Ecocem and TCD-based DNA traceback company Identigen.
Ardagh Glass recently raised €1.7bn in order to fund the acquisition of Impress. The money raised is also being used to repay and refinance €380m in debt held with Anglo Irish Bank.