Business Irish

Friday 17 January 2020

Cinema firm takes 5.35pc stake in embattled tech group Datalex

Datalex CEO Sean Corkery
Datalex CEO Sean Corkery
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Embattled Irish technology firm Datalex has announced that Cinema Holdings Ltd, a company understood to be linked to businessman Tom Anderson, has taken a 5.35pc stake in the stock market-listed group.

The stake has been acquired despite Datalex shares remaining suspended from trading on the stock market.

It catapults Cinema Holdings Ltd to being the fourth biggest shareholder in Datalex, although the holding is dwarfed by Dermot Desmond's 29pc holding. Pageant Holdings' Nick Furlong controls a 9.54pc stake.

Stock market trading in Datalex shares has been suspended since May last year, over an accounting scandal that has forced the company to restate its 2018 financial results.

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However, shares can still be traded privately on a so-called 'grey market'. The 4.17 million shares bought by Cinema Holdings coincide exactly with a stake previously held by UK investor Highclere.

The regulatory announcement to the Euronext says that Cinema Holdings Ltd passed a 5pc threshold, when it must declare its interest in Datalex, on December 20. The notice does not say how much was paid for the stake.

Mr Anderson's privately held Empire Cinemas is a major player in the sector in the UK and Ireland, emerging from the Ward Anderson cinema group.

Since its accounting issues were revealed, Datalex has needed a financial rescue package from billionaire Mr Desmond.

The company, whose CEO is Sean Corkery, has said it plans to raise additional equity in order to further bolster its balance sheet, but that is likely to be extremely challenging until the shares are cleared to trade normally again.

Datalex had hoped to have its shares re-listed by the end of last year.

However, the company has also said it may pursue a rights issue, even if the shares remain suspended. Management said such a step would be "difficult" but "not impossible".

Irish Independent

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