Wednesday 17 July 2019

Datalex in CFO search as Rooney to step down

Datalex’s products help airlines to boost revenue by enabling them to offer additional services and products to passengers when they’re booking their tickets
Datalex’s products help airlines to boost revenue by enabling them to offer additional services and products to passengers when they’re booking their tickets
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Dublin-based travel software firm Datalex's chief financial officer is to step down.

Dónal Rooney will leave the company and the board in April. The former Nama executive only joined the company last December, succeeding David Kennedy.

Last month, shares in Datalex collapsed more than 60pc after it warned shareholders that it may have misstated its first-half results from 2018, that were reported in August, and expected to post a loss for the year.

Brokers previously expected adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $16.2m (€14.3m) for 2018.

Last week, Datalex said it would cut an unspecified number of jobs to save up to $10m a year as the embattled firm deals with the aftermath of spiralling costs on a project with Lufthansa.

"Dónal will remain with Datalex as CFO until April 2019 to assist with the transition to a new CFO and to advance a number of critical ongoing organisational projects," said Datalex.

"I am grateful to Dónal for his support, hard work and dedication through what has been a most challenging period for the group. I would like to wish him every success in his future career," said Datalex CEO Aidan Brogan.

The company added that a search has already begun for Mr Rooney's successor.

Prior to joining Datalex, Mr Rooney was CFO with hotel group Amaris Hospitality, which was owned by US private equity giant Lone Star until last year. Lone Star sold the remaining hotels in the group, and the Amaris platform, to a Cyprus-based fund that's controlled by Israeli investor Yehuda Barashi.

Billionaire financier Dermot Desmond owns a 26.8pc stake in Datalex, and is its single biggest shareholder.

Shares in the firm were changing hands yesterday afternoon at just 71 cent, giving it a market capitalisation of about €54m.

The shares had slumped to a low of 65 cent after the firm announced that it may have misstated its first-half 2018 results. That was the lowest they'd been at any point in the preceding five years. The company had a market capitalisation of more than €210m almost a year ago.

Other shareholders in the group include its chairman, businessman Paschal Taggart.

Datalex has offices in Dublin, Manchester, Beijing, Amsterdam and Atlanta and employs a total of about 500 people, including staff and contractors.

The company expects to generate savings of between $8m and $8.5m this year as a result of its planned headcount reduction, and between $9.5m and $10m a year thereafter. It said the implementation of the redundancy exercise will cost it about $2m.

Irish Independent

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