Business Irish

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Enterprise Ireland admits to losing €9m on investment

Colm Kelpie

Published 16/07/2014 | 02:30

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Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Ireland
Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Ireland

ENTERPRISE Ireland lost €9m through its investment in Dublin-based TVC Holdings, it has emerged.

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It is one of the biggest single investment losses suffered by the semi-state company.

Enterprise Ireland said it had originally invested in a fund which it was hoped would put money into businesses to help them grow.

But the public value plunged, Enterprise Ireland told TDs at the Oireachtas Jobs Committee.

News of the loss comes just days after the agency's annual report showed that it lost €16.8m last year in investments, mostly through share sales.

Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon said yesterday that a profit of €38m was made on all of the agency's investments in venture capital funds between 1999 and 
2013.

"That's taking the basket of them. So it (the single loss) would be more of an exception," Ms Sinnamon said.

The agency said it invested in two limited partnership funds in 2000 which publicly floated in 2007. TVC Holdings listed in Dublin and London.

"At the time we followed both domestic and international institutional investors into the PLC," a spokesman told the Irish Independent.

"Enterprise Ireland held these shares for a period, however over time the investment no longer remained aligned to our developmental agenda.

"Independent investment advice was sought and a number of options were outlined to Enterprise Ireland which resulted in the sale in 2013.

"Considering the company is traded on the public markets it would be inappropriate for Enterprise Ireland to comment further."

It is understood the initial investment was about €19m, with about €10m returned.

In May, TVC said it was effectively shutting up shop because it couldn't find any companies to invest in. It announced plans to distribute more than 90pc of its assets to shareholders and delist from the Dublin and London stock exchanges by July.

Last week it was announced that companies backed by Enterprise Ireland clocked up record export sales last year with the biggest growth occurring in the Asia-Pacific region.

The semi-state agency said 2013 witnessed the best performance in more than a decade in both export growth and net job creation.

Irish Independent

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