Sunday 4 December 2016

Tom Lyons: A done deal, but were taxpayers the losers?

The decision not to sell Siteserv to the highest bidder was defended, says Tom Lyons, but some weren't convinced

Tom Lyons

Published 08/04/2012 | 05:00

ON the fifth floor of Davy stockbrokers' granite-faced Dublin headquarters a trickle of four grey-haired ordinary-looking men not wearing the usual business uniform filed into a meeting where shareholders in Siteserv, a support services company, were being asked to approve a €45m bid for the company from billionaire Denis O'Brien.

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Nonetheless the room was almost full. On one side was a wall of silent suits representing the company and various institutional shareholders and on the other a bank of Irish and international business journalists. Dotted around the meeting on Thursday were the four "civilian" shareholders.

Siteserv is a company few had previously heard of. It employs 2,300 people in Ireland and the UK, doing everything from installing Sky TV boxes to fixing traffic lights. It has a number of brands, including Sierra, a utilities contractor which has contracts with the ESB and Bord Gais.

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