Sunday 21 January 2018

DCC's Breen to retire as it makes first Asia moves

DCC boss Tommy Breen
DCC boss Tommy Breen
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

CEO of DCC Tommy Breen is to retire from his role this summer after more than 30 years with the £6.3bn (€7.3bn) FTSE-100 group.

Mr Breen (58) has been with DCC since 1985. He was appointed CEO in 2008 and since then the group has expanded significantly. He'll be succeeded by Donal Murphy, the managing director of the group's energy division.

DCC, whose activities range from petrol stations to technology distribution, yesterday announced two significant deals.

It has agreed to buy Shell's LPG distribution business in Hong Kong and Macau in a deal that places a £120m (€140m) enterprise value on the business. It marks DCC's first foray outside Europe.

The group also confirmed that it has sold its environmental unit for £219m (€256m) to UK private equity group Exponent, whose other assets include the 'Racing Post'.

The environmental unit, although profitable, has been a laggard in terms of its return on capital employed. Its operating margin was 9.9pc last year, however, which beat the margin at both DCC's technology unit and its healthcare business.

Mr Breen said the sale of the environmental unit will result in a £30m gain for the group and a "sharpened strategic focus" for the company.

The acquisition of Shell's LPG business in Hong Kong and Macau is the first time DCC has extended its footprint outside Europe. DCC is the largest distributor of home heating oil in the UK, and has significant energy assets on mainland Europe.

"This is the beginning of a period of new development for DCC," Mr Breen told the Irish Independent, adding that he has "no doubt" that Mr Murphy is the "right successor".

Mr Murphy said that DCC has good growth opportunities across its energy, technology and healthcare businesses.

He added that the Hong Kong acquisition is a "material step" for the company in starting to build a business outside Europe.

"Our style has been to create a bridgehead into a market and then build out from that," he said. "We'll be very focused on trying to find opportunities but that's a medium-term focus. Hong Kong and Macau are mature enough markets, but it has given is a presence where we can put a team in place to grow out into south-east Asia over time."

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