Business Irish

Monday 11 December 2017

Eircom chief Hribar quits after telco's €3bn IPO is pulled

Eircom CEO Herb Hribar has quit after the company's owners pulled the plug on a planned €3bn stock market flotation
Eircom CEO Herb Hribar has quit after the company's owners pulled the plug on a planned €3bn stock market flotation
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Eircom chief executive officer (ceo) Herb Hribar has left the company just over a week after the company's owners pulled the plug on a planned €3bn stock market flotation.

Mr Hribar - who is returning to the United States - was set to makes millions of euro in bonuses from the stock market return, which would have marked the third time in 15 years that the telco had floated on the exchange.

But he has decided not to renew his contract, according to the company.

Eircom's group chief financial officer, Richard Moat, has been appointed acting chief executive with immediate effect.

Eircom chairman Padraig McManus said that Mr Hribar had led the company through a "critical juncture of our transformation". This was Mr Hribar's second stint at Eircom. He had been head of its network and wholesale business between 2002 and 2004. He rejoined the business in 2012 as ceo following Eircom's massive Examinership that saw its debt slashed and lenders take control of the company.

Mr Hribar oversaw a period of significant investment in Eircom as it began the roll-out of a high-speed fibre broadband network around the country. He also saw about 2,000 jobs cut from its workforce.

Earlier this year, Eircom hired advisors to gauge the merits of a flotation, giving owners including US investor Blackrock, which controls 25pc of the telco, a possible exit route.

The business had also been pitched to potential buyers.

Just over two weeks ago, Eircom submitted an updated prospectus to the Central Bank, signalling that plans for the flotation could still be on track.

But Eircom then ditched the plan, being unable to convince potential shareholders that the business is worth as much as its existing owners think it is.

Eircom insisted that "encouraging signs of positive momentum" in its business had played a part in deciding to postpone the stock market flotation.

But it also meant that Mr Hribar and Mr Moat saw millions of euros each in flotation-linked bonuses evaporate. It's likely that stock market plans won't be revisited for about another two years.

Eircom said it will immediately begin the hunt for a new chief executive.

In its last financial year, Eircom's revenue fell 6pc to €1.28bn.

Irish Independent

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