Business Irish

Monday 10 December 2018

Eir network pledge as Niel completes takeover

Xavier Niel
Xavier Niel
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

French billionaire Xavier Niel has completed his acquisition of a majority stake in Eir.

Eir's new chief executive, Carolan Lennon, said that she's confident the company can now build the "best fixed and mobile network in Ireland".

Mr Niel's acquisition of Eir placed a €3.5bn enterprise value on the business, which includes debt and equity. The equity element is about €1.4bn.

The telecoms entrepreneur, pictured, acquired 65pc of Eir via two companies, NJJ and Iliad. NJJ is Mr Niel's investment vehicle and now owns 32.9pc of Eir. Stock market-listed Iliad owns the remaining stake in Eir that has been bought. Mr Niel owns 52pc of Iliad. He's also now a non-executive director at Eir.

The acquisition of Eir is the telco's ninth change of ownership in the past two decades.

In its last financial year, Eir generated revenue of €1.32bn and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of €520m. The figures were 1pc and 4pc higher respectively year-on-year.

Ms Lennon, who previously headed Eir's Open Eir wholesale business, was named as new chief executive in February. She succeeded Richard Moat. Mr Moat, a UK national, previously told the Irish Independent that he intended to seek a new role that will enable him to continue living in Ireland.

He has remained as a non-executive director of Eir, however.

Mr Moat and other senior Eir executives, including Ms Lennon, split about €100m from the sale of the telco.

Ms Lennon said she was "looking forward to managing Eir into the next phase of its development".

Eir's new management team includes non-executive chairman David McRedmond, the chief executive of An Post and a former boss of TV3.

Rose Hynes, the chairman of Shannon Group and of Origin Enterprises, is also a non-executive director. Fiona Tierney joins Eir as a non-executive director this summer. She's the outgoing chief executive of the Public Appointments Service.

Lawyer Pádraig Ó Ríordáin is also a non-executive board member. He's former chairman of the DAA and was once on the board of Paddy Power.

He was recently appointed non-executive chairman of

Premier Lotteries Ireland, which operates the National Lottery.

Stephen Tighe has been appointed Eir's chief financial officer, succeeding Huib Costermans. Mr Tighe has been finance director for Eir's consumer division since 2013, and its interim chief commercial officer since last summer.

Irish Independent

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