Business Irish

Monday 19 August 2019

Ardagh delays market flotation plans for metal container unit

Paul Coulson, chairman of Ardagh PLC
Paul Coulson, chairman of Ardagh PLC

Colm Kelpie

Ardagh, the packaging giant controlled by Dublin financier Paul Coulson, has delayed plans for a stock market flotation of its metals containers business.

Mr Coulson, who is executive chairman of the group, owns about a third of Ardagh, which has its roots in Irish Glass.

The company yesterday cited "challenging" market conditions for initial public offerings (IPO) in the United States for the decision to back away from the move.

This is despite the fact that the company said that it had "virtually completed" its preparations for the IPO of Ardagh subsidiary, Oressa.

However, it is understood the company is taking the view that it is a postponement rather than abandonment, and that it will return to the issue when market conditions surrounding IPOs are deemed to be more favourable.

Mr Coulson told analysts that the move had nothing to do with trading. He also revealed that after the company had filed the F-1 registration certificate to the SEC, it received approaches which were not compelling.

"The group has virtually completed its preparations for the IPO of Oressa, but the current IPO market conditions in the US are challenging and, as a result, it does not believe that it would be wise to seek to access the equity markets at this point in time," the company said in a statement.

"The group plans to keep the situation under constant review and to remain ready to launch the IPO as soon as market conditions are suitable."

The planned stock market debut of the metals division marked a diluted plan from Ardagh's previous intention to float the entire group in New York.

Ardagh, which has operations in 21 countries, had planned an IPO in 2011, but pulled that due to global market turmoil.

The flotation was back on track in 2013, but was again postponed as the company battled the US competition watchdog for control of Verallia North America.

Releasing its review of the quarter yesterday, the company reported revenue of €1.46bn, representing an increase of 11pc over the same period in 2014.

Revenue in glass packaging of €849m in the quarter increased by 13pc compared with the same period in 2014 and by 1pc at constant currency.

Glass Packaging North America revenue of €451m was 19pc higher than the same period last year and was 1pc lower at constant exchange rates.

Glass Packaging Europe increased revenue by 6pc to €398m compared with the same period in 2014, with constant currency revenue rising by 3pc.

EBITDA for the third quarter of €277m represented an increase of 15pc over the same period in 2014.

Irish Independent

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