Sunday 15 September 2019

BT lines up €460m sale of its Irish arm



Photo: PA
Photo: PA
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

BT is planning to exit the Irish market though a £400m (€462m) sale of its BT Ireland unit, which provides services to corporate clients.

The British multinational is understood to be inviting bids for BT Ireland as part of a wider exit from its Global Services international arm.

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The mooted sale was reported in the 'Daily Telegraph' in London.

However, BT Ireland managing director Shay Walsh cast doubt on the story yesterday via social media.

He told people not to "believe everything you read in the paper, especially when there is no source quoted". A spokeswoman for BT Ireland said it would not comment "on rumour or speculation".

BT Ireland employed 608 people here according to its most recently filed accounts for the 12 months to the end of March 2018.

It reported a profit of €34m on revenue of €425m for the period and paid a dividend in the year of €289m to its UK parent.

The 'Daily Telegraph' in London reported that BT Ireland's underlying earnings of around €50m could attract bids in the €350m to €500m range from private equity players, as well as from pension funds.

BT Ireland operates in five cities across the country, and has become synonymous with the Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, an annual event it has been involved in for 17 years.

The planned sale would break BT's 20-year tie with the market here, entered through a €2.58bn takeover of Denis O'Brien's Esat Telecom in 2000.

In 2009 BT sold its Irish consumer and SME business to Vodafone in a €4.8m deal.

The latest reported move from BT comes just months after Philip Jansen, the former chief executive officer of fintech firm Worldpay, took over the reins at the group last February.

Irish Independent

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