Sunday 17 December 2017

Ardagh revenue up 9pc to €1.2bn during Q1

Paul Coulson of Ardagh PLC
Paul Coulson of Ardagh PLC
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Earnings at packaging giant Ardagh's metal container unit soared 30pc to €64m during the first quarter of the year as the group readies the division for a €3bn stock market flotation.

In its latest bond report, Ardagh said that pro-forma revenue at its metal containers unit rose 9pc to €472m in the first three months fo 2015.

The pro-forma figures for revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) adjust the accounting for acquisitions and disposals made during 2014.

Group pro-forma revenue was 9pc higher at €1.2bn during the first quarter, while pro-forma EBITDA was up 21pc at €204m.

At its glass division, revenue rose 10pc to €735m and EBITDA was up 17.6pc to €140m.

Controlled by Dublin financier Paul Coulson, Ardagh last week pulled out of a €3bn race to buy Saint-Gobain's European Verallia business. A number of global private equity players remain in the race.

Had it succeeded, the deal would have been transformational for Ardagh. However, it would also have led to its already substantial debt pile increasing.

The latest quarterly results show that Ardagh's net debt stood at €5.2bn at the end of March, compared to €4.7bn a year earlier. Its ratio of debt to EBITDA is now 6.4 times.

Ardagh succeeded in buying Verallia's division in the United States last year for €1bn after a protracted battle with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Last month, Ardagh signalled that it is planning to float its metals division, probably in New York, later this year.

Ardagh, which has operations in 21 countries, had planned an initial public offering (IPO) in 2011, but cancelled that due to global market turmoil.

The flotation was back on track in 2013, but was again postponed as the company fought the FTC to buy Verallia North America.

The proceeds from the metals unit flotation will be used to either reduce Ardagh's debt or to fund additional acquisitions.

Ardagh said that its capital expenditure bill hit €99m during the first quarter, €2m higher than in the first quarter of 2014.

It said it spent €40m less at its metals division as it completed an investment project, but that it spent €42m more in the first quarter at its glass division.

Irish Independent

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