Business Irish

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Ardagh share fall hits Coulson's net worth

Ardagh chairman Paul Coulson. Photo: Jason Clarke
Ardagh chairman Paul Coulson. Photo: Jason Clarke
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Ardagh Group's market value hit an all-time low on Thursday, with chairman Paul Coulson's 33pc stake in the business down by around $620m (€532m) in value from the highs hit in May of last year. At its peak, his stake had been valued at close to $1.9bn (€1.6bn).

The fall came after the company posted second-quarter results, which saw adjusted Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) down 6pc, fuelled by lower volumes and higher transport costs in its US glass packaging business.

Around 92pc of US-listed Ardagh is owned by a holding company in which Coulson has an interest of 36pc. That means only 8pc of shares are in free float.

In February, Coulson outlined plans to increase the free float. Part of that involves repaying and refinancing significant levels of debt issued by the holdco, which has some $2bn of bonds outstanding. But that refinancing may prove more difficult if the holdco's Ardagh stake is less valuable on foot of share falls.

Asked by an analyst whether the share fall would impact the plan, Coulson said: "That still remains an important platform... but remember it was pretty much 18 months away minimum and we did always say that it will be subject to market conditions."

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