Sunday 20 April 2014

Blackstone has its eye on buying Intertrust which cuts tax bills

THE Punt's sources in the debt markets tell us that private equity giant Blackstone is finalising a €500m debt package to support its buyout of the innocuous sounding Dutch corporate services business Intertrust.

Blackstone is a familiar name to readers of the Irish Independent's business pages thanks to a string of high-profile Irish acquisitions over the past two years.

They include snapping up the Burlington Hotel at a knockdown price at the end of last year, and ending up in the driving seat at Eircom thanks to a well-timed investment in the telco's debt.

The buying spree took off in earnest after Blackstone founder Steve Schwarzman met Enda Kenny back in 2011.

Intertrust has Irish operations, too, though it is based in the Netherlands.

Funny enough, that makes it one of the relatively small number of multinationals with genuine operations links between the two countries.

For many multinationals, the link between the two countries, and onwards in many cases to the Cayman Island, is purely financial – driven by the ability of smart advisers to minimise tax bills for business through cross-border, intra-company cash flows.

Incidentally, that's just where Intertrust comes in to the picture.

The Dutch company is part of the €1bn-a-year "trust" industry that has grown up in the Netherlands, which specialises in helping multinationals to minimise their global tax bill. That trend is out of fashion in cash-strapped Britain right now, but The Punt reckons avoiding taxes is never out of fashion with industry.

Looks like Mr Schwarzman has backed another winner.

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