Thursday 14 December 2017

Chairman of glass maker Ardagh set for €24m windfall

Paul Coulson, chairman of Ardagh PLC
Paul Coulson, chairman of Ardagh PLC
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Dublin financier Paul Coulson, the head of glass maker Ardagh, is set for a €24m summer windfall as the company plans to return €73m to shareholders.

The company is raising $1bn of payment-in-kind notes and will use part of the proceeds to pay the dividend.

Mr Coulson and his family own over 33pc of Ardagh, both directly and also through his Yeoman investment vehicle.

It's the second time in three years that Mr Coulson and other senior Ardagh executives have reaped millions from a refinancing at the group.

Back in 2011, another bond refinancing saw them split €183m, with over €60m of that going to Mr Coulson.

Niall Wall, the chief executive of the group, owns nearly 10pc of Ardagh and got over €18m from that refinancing and will reap another €7.3m from the latest move.

The latest dividend payment for Paris-based Mr Coulson, who's executive chairman of Ardagh, comes as the company plots fresh plans for a stock market listing.

A previous effort to hit the New York Stock Exchange in 2011 was thwarted amid global economic turbulence.

The company confirmed last week that it hopes to complete an initial public offering in the second half of 2015.

The decision to pay the latest dividend to Ardagh shareholders comes just weeks after it completed a drawn out purchase of glass maker Verallia North America, following initial objections from the US competition watchdog.

Ardagh, which employs nearly 20,000 people in 23 countries, added that its revenue in the first three months of the year edged 1pc higher to €968m year-on-year; while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), rose 9pc to €155m in the period. In the year to the end of March, Ardagh's total revenue on a pro-forma basis was €4.8bn and its EBITDA was €748m.

The company is raising the $1bn in US dollars and euros by way of senior payment-in-kind (PIK) notes that will fall due in 2019.

It confirmed that the net proceeds – estimated at €716m – will be used to fund the redemption of existing PIK notes for €643m, with €73m being returned to shareholders.

Citigroup is leading the new PIK issue.

A global investor call was scheduled to take place yesterday, with pricing of the issue expected either last night or this morning.

Ratings agency Moody's yesterday reaffirmed Ardagh's B3 corporate family rating and has rated the new PIK notes being issued by the company as Caa2.

Moody's said that the acquisition of Verallia North America should position Ardagh as the leading glass container maker in the US.

Irish Independent

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