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Cash falls €1bn as debt rises €2bn at Iseq firms

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Iseq heavyweight Ryanair in one of the firms which saw big falls in its cash balances largely due to share buyback schemes. Photo: REUTERS

Iseq heavyweight Ryanair in one of the firms which saw big falls in its cash balances largely due to share buyback schemes. Photo: REUTERS

REUTERS

Iseq heavyweight Ryanair in one of the firms which saw big falls in its cash balances largely due to share buyback schemes. Photo: REUTERS

The combined cash on the books of Ireland's 20 largest listed companies fell by more than a billion euro over the past year, while debt rose by more than €2bn.

Housebuilders Cairn Homes and Glenveagh Properties were some of the biggest spenders last year. Cairn's most recently reported cash balance was down 32pc to €46.4m compared to where it stood in 2017. Glenveagh's cash fell 54pc to €163m.

The cash held by the 20 biggest listed companies was €8.3bn, double what it was 10 years ago in 2008 for the then 20 biggest firms on the Irish Stock Exchange.

Nevertheless, Iseq heavyweights Ryanair and CRH saw big falls in their cash balances - down 32pc to €2.8bn and more than 12pc to €1.8bn respectively - largely due to major share buyback schemes.

But other well-known companies such as Kingspan, Total Produce and Aryzta also saw cash reserves fall in 2018, according to the latest data from Bloomberg.

Simultaneously, combined debt at the top 20 largest Iseq companies rose with CRH adding almost €2bn alone as it continued a global acquisitions spree. Ryanair, by contrast, reduced its debt by almost €500m in the past year.

Kingspan also saw a 36pc jump in debt to €663m, the figures showed.

Sunday Indo Business