THE boss of gambling firm Paddy Power, Patrick Kennedy, has hit the jackpot after selling shares worth close to €5m in the group.
Mr Kennedy told the stock exchange that he sold 71,567 shares in the company as the price per share hovered near an all-time high.
He sold the shares at €68.20 a piece, yielding a pre-tax windfall of nearly €4.9m.
Paddy Power shares breached the €70 hurdle last week, but closed down 1.6pc at €68.46 yesterday. They've risen more than 47pc in the past year. The company is now valued at nearly €3.4bn, making it one of the country's most valuable firms.
Following the sale, Mr Kennedy is still sitting on a fortune. He retains nearly 473,000 shares in the group worth over €32m. Last year, he sold 22,000 shares in the company valued at just over €1m at the time.
Last month Paddy Power finance director Jack Massey sold €3m worth of shares in the company at €65.50 apiece. That sale represented about half his holding in the company. He retains about 40,000 shares valued at around €2.7m in Paddy Power.
Mr Kennedy (43), who is also a non-executive director of pharmaceutical firm Elan, has helped steer Paddy Power to being a hugely profitable business. Last year it recorded a 25pc rise in revenue to €654m on a constant currency basis, while operating profits rose 14pc to €136m on the same basis.
Mr Kennedy, who's been chief executive of Paddy Power since 2006, was also appointed a non-executive director of Bank of Ireland in 2010. He has a €5m mortgage with the bank.
The sum accounts for the bulk of €8m in loans owed at the end of last year by all the directors of the country's bailed-out banks to the institutions.
Mr Kennedy and his team have emulated the Ryanair approach to cheeky marketing to get the business noticed.
That has included ambush tactics such as a campaign in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics that said the company was the "official sponsor of the largest athletics event in London this year".
In the advert, it clarified that it was London, France, where it was sponsoring an egg and spoon race. The London Olympics organiser tried to get the ad banned.
Paddy Power generates about 60pc of its operating profits in the UK, 23pc in Australia and 17pc in Ireland. Last year, it launched its service in Italy and now has a 5pc share of the country's sports market.
Meanwhile, investment management company BlackRock Inc has increased its shareholding in the bookmaker to 5.09pc after it bought up 463,454 shares.